Strikes and lows stress Exxaro

SOUTH Africa’s second-largest coal producer Exxaro has announced a 33% drop in full year earnings for 2012.

Staff Reporter

In a statement today, the company cited lower coal export prices and volumes were responsible for earnings per share, excluding one-time items, falling to 14.01 rand ($US1.53).

It said revenue declined 23% to R16.1 billion.

Exxaro will pay a final dividend of R1.50 a share.

The company said the average export price dropped from $US105 per tonne in January 2012 to a low $85/t in November 2012, with Exxaro’s average coal export price for 2012 at $94/t, compared to $118/t in 2011.

Coal revenue was lower at R12.04 million, down 3% on 2011 but overall coal production was stable at 40 million tons per annum.

Despite poor 2012 earnings, the company looks positively towards 2013.

“The 2013 financial and operational results are expected to be impacted by commodity price volatility, the rand/US dollar exchange rate fluctuations as well as the availability of trains in the export coal business,” the company said.

“Both thermal and coking coal seaborne markets are expected to be soft as a result of sluggish demand in Europe, India and China, further exacerbated by increased stock levels.

“As a result of this, it is expected that Exxaro will continue to pursue new domestic markets, albeit at lower prices, in the short to medium term.

“It is expected that the domestic steam coal market will continue to remain stable, with a marginal increase in the demand from Eskom (power station).”

The results come as the company also reports strikes at two of its Mpumalanga mines.

Exxaro said the strikes at its Matla and Arnot coal mines began on Tuesday.

“The strikes are related to non-payment of performance bonuses due to the operations not having achieved their performance targets,” the company said in a statement.

Exxaro says coal stocks are expected to meet demand from power stations for at least a few weeks and it is managing the situation to try and bring operations back to normal as soon as possible.

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