Earnings excluding one-time items rose to 1 billion rand ($129 million), or 2.42 rand a share, in the three months through December from 411 million rand, or 95 cents a share, in the prior three months, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for earnings of 1.54 rand a share.
Gold companies in South Africa, the continent’s largest producer of the metal, gain from a weaker rand because they sell much of their output for dollars and pay most costs in rand. The nation’s currency depreciated 18 percent against the dollar last year, making it the world’s worst performer after Turkey’s lira, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Harmony and larger rivals AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (ANG) and Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI) benefited from a 34 percent jump in the local price of gold over the year as the rand sank. Harmony gains most from a weaker rand as it mines about 90 percent of its gold in South Africa.
The company’s production rose 5 percent to 344,592 ounces in the quarter, from 328,162 ounces in the previous three months.
Analysts who track South African gold producers measure quarter-on-quarter earnings excluding one-time items.
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