Aquarius swings to quarterly loss

2011-10-27 09:18

London - Aquarius Platinum [JSE:AQP] swung to a quarterly net loss due to adverse foreign exchange moves and lower precious metal production as a result of operational problems.

It posted a net loss of $91.8m in the quarter to end September, after a $94.3m loss resulting from the rand weakening 20% against the dollar, compared with a net profit of $42.4m in the year-earlier quarter

The company said production, excluding the Blue Ridge mine, fell 8% to 109 828 PGM (platinum group metal) ounces.

“The first quarter of FY2012 has been a truly difficult one,” said CEO Stuart Murray.

“This escalating underperformance relates to a failure to achieve agreed budgeted production and unit cost targets at all the South African mines, and a failure to maintain acceptable safety standards and industrial relations practices (particularly at Everest),” he said.

Average PGM prices in dollar terms fell 2% from the preceding quarter with platinum and palladium both declining 1% and rhodium falling 13%.

“PGM prices have remained at the lower levels reached at the end of the first quarter in October, and while the European debt crisis remains unresolved and the global economic recovery continues to slow, this situation is unlikely to change,” the company said on Thursday.

“The outlook for PGM prices in the medium term remains good, but macroeconomic concerns are likely to outweigh this in the short term.”