Amplats profit drops in H1 2020, sees upswing in H2

Bathopele mine in South Africa. (Image: Anglo American Platinum)

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) posted a 7% fall in half-year profit on lower output due to shutdowns caused by covid-19.

The company reported headline earnings per share of 26.27 rand, compared to 28.15 rand in H1 2019.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rose 6% to 13.1 billion rand ($800 million), driven by sharply higher metals prices.

The world’s top platinum producer declared an interim gross cash dividend of R10.23 per share on the ordinary shares from profits accrued during the six-month period ended June 30, in line with the adopted 40% pay-out ratio driven dividend policy.

Further covid-19 shutdowns, repairs and power outages could impact the company’s ability to meet year end guidance of 3.1 to 3.6 million PGM ounces

Amplats said it expects output to improve in the second half despite a 25% decline in year-on-year in platinum group metals (PGM) production to 1.6 million ounces due to shutdowns in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Total refined production, including tolling, declined by 46% to 1.246.900 oz due to power cuts and repairs at its Anglo Converter Plant at the Waterval smelter complex in Rustenburg after a blast forced it to declare force majeure.

“We expect to see a stronger production performance in H2 2020, but caution that significant headwinds still exist,” said Amplats CEO Natascha Viljoen in a media statement.

Viljoen, who was appointed CEO in April, said output capacity levels were around 80% by the end of June and are expected to increase to 95% by the end of the year.

Amplats said the possibility of further covid-19 shutdowns, repairs at its plant and power outages could impact its ability to meet year-end guidance of between 3.1 to 3.6 million PGM ounces.

Viljoen said Amplats expected platinum, rhodium and palladium to be in deficit in the global market for the remainder of 2020, but expected platinum, the majority of which is mined in South Africa, to return to a surplus in 2021 as supply recovers.

Amplats’ stock was up 1.46% on the JSE at Monday afternoon. The company has a $23.7 billion market capitalization.

(With files from Reuters)