JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Dual-listed platinum-group metals (PGMs) and chrome producer Tharisa delivered a “solid” financial and operational performance in the six months ended March 31, despite volatile commodity prices, says its CEO.
“While revenues for the first half of the year were impacted by the 27% drop in PGM prices and a 32% drop in metallurgical grade chrome prices, we remain profitable benefitting to some extent by the 30% weakening in the rand against the dollar and by our decisive move to increase our output of the higher-value specialty chrome concentrates, which is demonstrated by an improved gross profit margin,” CEO Phoevos Pouroulis said on Monday.
The company, which last week listed on the LSE, reported a 37% year-on-year fall in profit to $3.1-million, while revenue decreased by 30.5% year-on-year to $86-million owing to a 27% drop in average PGM prices to $686/oz in the six months under review.
Pouroulis stated that the company had seen dramatic price movements in the first half of the year, but that there had been a strong recovery in chrome prices and a slower rise in PGMs since the end of March, which was encouraging.
Meanwhile, headline earnings a share were flat at $0.01, while net cash flows from operating activities increased by 18.2% to $18.2-million from $15.3-million in the first half of the prior financial year.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $14.7-million were recorded, while net debt was reduced by $9.8-million to $30.9-million during the period under review.
“In the first half of the year, we more than doubled our specialty grade chrome production to over 105 000 t, compared with just over 47 000 t last year,” Pouroulis pointed out.
“The company increased its production over the period, helping to bring down the cost per unit,” he added, while noting that the weakness in the South African rand had also helped to lower costs and protect margins.
He further noted that in the first half of the year Tharisa produced 60 000 oz of PGM’s and 604 400 t of chrome concentrate.
Looking ahead, Tharisa said it was focused is on improving feed grades into its processing plants and that it was targeting a number of initiatives to improve PGM and chrome recovery.
“Our key asset is our long-term advantage of being a low-cost producer through our 20-year Tharisa mine, which gives us a life-long competitive advantage,” he stated