Diversified miner Assore on Wednesday 22 February 2017 reported a big jump in first-half profit‚ bolstered by a recovery in commodity prices and the weaker rand.
Headline earnings rose 194.2% to R2.2-billion in the six months to December from the same period in the previous year‚ as demand for crude steel in China boosted that for iron ore‚ pushing its average price to $65 per ton from $51. Prices of other commodities the company produces‚ notably manganese alloys‚ rose in the revenue period‚ bolstered in part by logistical concerns over the manganese export facilities at Port Elizabeth‚ which created pressure on supply. "The prices of our products recovered over the first half of the financial year and combined with the weaker rand/dollar exchange rate, the group recorded considerably higher earnings than expected‚" Chairman Desmond Sacco said. Assore‚ which has as its key asset a 50% stake in Assmang‚ which it shares with Afri-can Rainbow Minerals‚ increased its interim dividend per share 200% to 600c. Assmang's contribution to headline earnings was R1.42-billion, while the balance came from the wholly owned Dwarsrivier mine, which generated R421-million. Assure shares gained 13.5% in 2017, giving the company a market capitalisation of R37.6-billion, which is far higher than that of its African Rainbow Minerals partner, whose shares grew 11%, giving it a market capitalization of R24-billion. Assure, which is focused mainly on ingredients that feed into the steel industry, namely iron ore, chrome and manganese, did not performed as well as pure iron-ore Kumba Iron Ore. Kumba's share price has so far in 2017 increased by 36%. Business Day.
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