Accessibility Links

Aquarius posts $154m loss, says platinum sector under pressure

08 Aug 2012
ANNESBURG ( - ASX-, LSE- and JSE-listed Aquarius Platinum reported a consolidated loss of $154-million, or 33.77 c a share, for the year ended June, brought on by a foreign exchange loss of $97-million that arose from the revaluation of intercompany loans within the group.

The company’s revenue for the year fell 29% from $683-million in the previous corresponding period to $486-million, as production declined 14% to 411 398 oz and PGM prices slumped 17% to $1.158/oz.

Decreasing metal prices caused a negative $31-million sales adjustment to be incurred and resulted in operations being suspended and placed under care at Marikana and Everest mines in June, as the projects were unprofitable.

Meanwhile, the company’s net mine operating cash flow declined by 85% to $26-million, from $176-million in 2011, while mine earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation also decreased by 86% to $29-million from $206-million in the previous corresponding period. Along with lower metal prices, this was owing to challenging operating conditions at the group’s South African operations.

Aquarius said its South African operations were subjected to underperformance by mining contractors, temporary operational issues encountered as a result of the implementation of a revised underground hanging wall safety support regime, as well as a significant increase in the number of Section 54 safety stoppages, which pushed up production costs 22% to $531-million per PGM ounce.

This impacted Aquarius’ cash balance at the financial year close, which was $180-million with no dividend was declared, compared to 8 us cents in 2011, while the company’s gross cash margin decreased to 4% from 35%.

“While some of the issues are company specific, the general operating environment, combined with the poor pricing conditions, places the South African PGM sector under real pressure. Aquarius has felt these impacts, but has swiftly resolved to conserve cash and protect the value of its in-the-ground reserves and resources by placing Marikana and Everest under care and maintenance.

“As the market recovers, and there is no reason to doubt that it will, Aquarius will be well placed to rebuild its production profile,” CEO Stuart Murray stated.