Miner Lonmin Narrows H1 Loss, Trims Spending Target

By Zandi Shabalala and Justin Varghese

Lonmin said on Monday it narrowed its first-half operating loss and lowered its spending target for the year as the platinum miner prepared for a merger with Sibanye-Stillwater.

 

FILE PHOTO: A mine worker returns from the Lonmin mine at the end of his shift, outside Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg October 5, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
FILE PHOTO: A mine worker returns from the Lonmin mine at the end of his shift, outside Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg October 5, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The London-listed miner, which is being bought by Sibanye-Stillwater, reported a first-half operating loss of $32 million compared with a loss of $181 million a year earlier.

It lowered its full year capital expenditure target to 1.2-1.3 billion rand ($98 million-$106 million) from 1.4-1.5 billion.

South Africa’s Sibanye said Lonmin, which is hamstrung by soaring costs and subdued metal prices, must be cash positive by the time the deal is scheduled to close.

“We are making good progress with the transaction and expect to complete in the second half of the 2018 calendar year,” Chief Executive Ben Magara said in a statement.

Net cash at the end of March fell to $17 million from $75 million a year earlier and from $63 million at the end of December.

A stronger rand is also hobbling Lonmin’s efforts to meet its targets as its costs are in rand while platinum is priced in dollars.

It said unit costs for 2018 will be at the upper end of guidance but maintained is full-year sales guidance.

In the three months to March 31, platinum production rose to 143,374 ounces, up 3.9 percent from a year earlier.

Liberum cut its rating on Lonmin last week to “sell” from “hold”, saying its current rate of cash burn could scupper its merger by pushing it into net debt before the end of the year.

($1 = 12.2525 rand)

 Editing by Jason Neely

Source: af.reuters.com

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