Amplats warns of full year loss as strike cripples production

ANGLO American Platinum said yesterday it slumped to a loss last year, as it battled a two-month strike during the second half of 2012.

Amplats, which is 80 per cent owned by parent Anglo American, said it expected headline earnings per share to drop to between 491 and 628 South African cents over the year to December 2012 – from a profit of 1,365 cents for the previous year – largely as a result of the industrial action which crippled output. Lower platinum prices also contributed to the decline in earnings.

Amplats said it lost 306,000 ounces of platinum over the year to December 2012, equal to around 12-13 per cent of total expected production, due to a wave of strikes that spread to other South African platinum producers and caused the closure of many mines.

It also said it would write down ZAR6.6bn (£470m) of other assets that are considered “not economically viable”.

A review by its parent Anglo American, which was commissioned almost a year ago, is due this week. It is expected to announce some shaft closures in the face of soaring costs and falling profits.

In Johannesburg, Anglo American closed down 1.82 per cent yesterday at 49,101 cents.