RBPlat labour

Finweek English Edition - - INVESTMENT -

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom for South Africa’s plat­inum sec­tor, as demon­strated by Royal Bafo­keng Plat­inum (RBPlat) last week. The com­pany showed what’s pos­si­ble if you can safely navigate labour re­la­tions.

As­sisted hand­somely by the weaker rand against the dol­lar year on year, RBPlat turned in a 33% in­crease in share earn­ings for the six months ended 30 June. It is now on course for high­erthan-fore­cast, full-year earn­ings pro­vided the rand doesn’t strengthen too heav­ily in the sec­ond half of the year.

This comes at a time when the rest of the plat­inum sec­tor – bar a few other ex­cep­tions such as Aquarius Plat­inum – has seen cash f lows shred­ded by in­dus­trial ac­tion. Lon­min was re­duced to a net cash neu­tral po­si­tion while Northam Plat­inum had the pro­ceeds of a R600m rights of­fer wiped out in a strike at its Zon­dereinde mine that ended in Jan­uary.

“The re­sults ref lect the ben­e­fits of hav­ing a sta­ble work­force,” said Martin Prinsloo, CFO of RBPlat, which has An­glo Amer­i­can Plat­inum (Am­plats) and Royal Bafo­keng Re­sources as its main share­hold­ers.

There is no sin­gle rea­son for sta­ble labour re­la­tions but a R2.8bn hous­ing and ameni­ties project at the firm’s Bafo­keng Rasi­mone Plat­inum Mine Joint Ven­ture (BRPM), an­nounced in June, is cer­tainly a con­tribut­ing fac­tor.

A month later, RBPlat had a wage deal which guar­an­teed a 9.1% cost-to­com­pany in­crease over three years – lower than that achieved by RBPlat’s peers Am­plats, Lon­min and Im­pala Plat­inum – but which also links wages to pro­duc­tiv­ity. A fur­ther two years can be added to the wage agree­ment, but it com­mits RBPlat to re­assess­ing whether the pay is fair in line with inf la­tion and

RBPlat avoided the five-month­long strike in the plat­inum belt

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