JOHANNESBURG, Sept 12 (Reuters) – South African
petrochemicals group Sasol Ltd posted a 27 percent rise
in full-year earnings as cost cuts and higher oil and product
prices helped offset the impact of a strong rand. Sasol, the world's top maker of motor fuel from oil, said it expects a better operational performance in the 2012 financial year, although the strong currency remains a challenge. "The strengthening of the rand/US dollar exchange rate remains the single biggest external factor exerting pressure on our profitability," it said in a statement. A strong rand is a negative for South African exporters as it eats into profits when overseas earnings are brought home. The company said it expects volumes from its synthetic fuels operations in South Africa to increase to between 7.2 and 7.3 million tonnes in the current financial year and forecast improved volumes from its operations in Mozambique and Canada. The petrochemicals group is investing heavily in growth, especially by expanding its shale gas portfolio. It recently bought two shale gas interests in Canada to boost its gas portfolio and secure feedstock. Sasol and Canada's Talisman Energy are working on a feasibility study into a 48,000 barrels per day gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant that would eventually use the gas produced from their Farrell Creek assets. Sasol said it had completed a feasibility study for a GTL plant in Uzbekistan and will decide in the near term whether to proceed to an engineering study on the project, depending on "certain commercial conditions". HEALTHY MARGINS The company said due to a delay in China's approval for a proposed coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant the company had relocated staff and planned funding to other projects. Sasol said headline earnings per share for the year to the end of June rose 27 percent to 33.85 rand ($4.6) from the previous year. Headline EPS are the main profit gauge in South Africa and exclude certain one-time items. "Higher global commodity prices have supported the healthy margins delivered, particularly in our chemicals businesses, negating the impact of the strong rand," Chief Financial Officer Christine Ramon said in a statement. Earnings were in the middle of Sasol's own forecast of a jump between 22 and 32 percent, given in late July. "The results were pleasing and it's good to see that they are broadening their base to not remain too reliant on only one significant contributor ... they seek to increase their profile in North America and that's where the growth will be," said Sasha Naryshkine, an analyst at Vestact. "The stock remains a South African favourite, even though they are fairly leveraged to oil prices and exchange rate fluctuations." Full-year turnover rose to 142.4 billion rand from 122.3 billion the previous year. Sasol said it would pay a final dividend of 9.90 rand per share, up from 7.70 rand a year ago. Sasol shares are down 6.4 percent so far this year, compared with a 5.3 percent fall in the JSE Top-40 blue-chip index . ($1 = 7.285 South African Rand) (Editing by David Holmes)
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 5 (Reuters) – South African miner Metorex
, the takeover target of Chinese metals group Jinchuan,
reported a 155 percent rise in first-half profit on Monday,
boosted by strong copper prices and higher output, and forecast
production at current levels.
Chief Executive Terence Goodlace said he expected demand and
prices for the industrial metal to remain strong on the back of
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Workers at vineyards producing South Africa’s internationally renowned wines are denied many of their basic rights, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report said on Tuesday.
Wine and fruit farms are a big contributor to South Africa’s economy and major export earners, especially in the Western Cape province that is home to six of the country’s nine wine growing regions and most of its vineyards.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 20 (Reuters) – South Africa’s special
police investigation unit said on Saturday it would look into
allegations of corruption and fraud against ANC Youth League
leader Julius Malema.
Civil society group Afriforum has reported Malema to the
police, repeating media allegations that he set up a trust fund
into which businessmen and politicians paid thousands of rand in
return for government contracts.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 19 (Reuters) – South Africa’s National
Union of Mineworkers members at Impala Platinum on
Friday rejected a revised pay rise offer from the world’s second
largest producer of the precious metal and will refer the
dispute to arbitration.
The platinum sector is the latest to be affected by a wave
of disputes in the country’s mid-year “strike season” after
stoppages in the steel, fuel and mining sectors threaten to dent
growth in Africa’s biggest economy.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 18 (Reuters) – Anglo American Platinum
(Amplats) has raised its offer in wage talks, South
Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday,
raising hopes that a strike may be averted against the world’s
top platinum producer.
The union also lowered its demands in talks which are set to
resume on Friday and come against a backdrop of high commodity
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 18 (Reuters) – South Africa’s National
Union of Mineworkers said it plans a new round of wage talks
with Anglo American Platinum on Thursday in an attempt
to avert a strike at the world’s top producer of the precious
metal that could affect global prices.
South Africa’s platinum sector is the latest to be affected
by a wave of disputes in the mid-year “strike season”, after
stoppages in the steel and fuel industries as well as other
parts of the mining sector which threaten to dent economic
PRETORIA, Aug 17 (Reuters) – South Africa’s government will
lay criminal charges against Kumba Iron Ore over its
application for a mining right over the company’s Sishen mine
that it did not yet own, a lawyer for the minerals department
said on Wednesday.
The state’s move is the latest twist in a tale that has
unnerved investors and led to allegations of graft and political
favouritism in the resource-rich country.
JOHANNESBURG/LONDON (Reuters) – South Africa’s junior coal miners, some of them tiny producers, face intense pressure to consolidate, but the varying quality of their deposits and what are often poor locations will prevent many tie-ups and may force some to simply shut up shop.
Battling escalating costs, aging mines, unclear regulation and woefully inadequate rail and port export capacity, smaller players face a stark decision: join forces, combine with cash-flush partners — as many have already done — or shut down, analysts and industry executives say.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 15 (Reuters) – More than 200,000 South
African municipal workers walked off the job on Monday, a trade
union said, in a strike which intensifies labour strife that has
rocked Africa’s biggest economy.
Disruptions are expected to garbage collection and water
repairs in urban areas but the indefinite action should not deal
as heavy a blow to the overall economy as previous strikes in
the mining and fuel sectors, which may curb growth.