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Aquarius Platinum swings to loss

Aug 08 2012 10:28 Reuters

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Johannesburg - Aquarius Platinum [JSE:AQP] reported a full-year loss, hurt by lower production and a $97m foreign exchange loss from the revaluation of inter-company loans within the group.

The fourth-largest platinum producer said loss before tax was about $189m for the year ended June 30, compared with a pretax profit of $25.4m a year earlier.

Production attributable to Aquarius decreased 14% to 411 398 ounces.

The company said its production focus was now on its Kroondal mine in South Africa and Mimosa in Zimbabwe.

It had placed its Everest and Marikana mines in South Africa under care and maintenance in June as they had remained unprofitable through the fiscal year.

"A significant drop in the Rand price basket especially since February coupled with rising input costs in South Africa and Zimbabwe, poor labour relations at the primary mining contractor in South Africa, and unreasoned safety stoppages all combined to deliver an unfortunate operational and financial outcome for Aquarius," Chief Executive Stuart Murray said.

Aquarius shares, which have fallen about 83% over the last year, closed at 36.68 pence on Tuesday on the London Stock Exchange.

Shares of Aquarius Platinum, the world’s fourth-largest producer of the precious metal, fall 6.5% after the group reports a full-year loss amid widening woes besetting the sector.

At 09:55, the group’s shares were down 6.05% to R4.48, bringing its fall in the year to date to 77%.

The platinum sector in South Africa, home to about 80% of known reserves of metal used to build emissions-capping catalytic converters in automobiles, is struggling with weak demand, soaring costs and worker protests.


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