Amplats Returns to Profit on Higher Revenue as Strikes Loom

Anglo American Platinum Ltd., facing a strike starting tomorrow, returned to profit last year as the world’s largest producer of the metal gained from higher sales and a drop in the South African rand against the dollar.

Earnings per share excluding one-time items will be 4.80 rand ($0.44) to 5.90 rand in the 12 months ended Dec. 31 compared with a loss of 5.62 rand in 2012, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. That beat the 4.44-rand median of 14 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

The increase “is primarily due to higher sales volumes and a favorable rand-dollar exchange rate,” it said. “This was partially offset by weaker U.S. dollar metals prices and one-off restructuring costs amounting to 1.5 billion rand.”

Amplats booked a 2.8 billion-rand ($259 million) writedown after closed shafts and cut jobs last year as it sought to return to profit. The company was helped by a recovering global economy, which boosted demand for platinum, used in catalytic converters in cars to reduce pollution.

The stock rose 1.3 percent to 422.99 rand at 9:23 a.m. in Johannesburg, the highest intraday level since Nov. 18.

Amplats reports earnings in rand, the currency that’s depreciated 22 percent against the dollar, in which platinum is priced, since the beginning of last year.

The company, together with other producers in South Africa, is bracing for the most severe labor turmoil since 44 people died during a strike at Lonmin Plc in August 2012. At least 70,000 members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the largest labor group at platinum operations in South Africa, prepare to strike over pay tomorrow.

South Africa has the world’s biggest platinum reserves.

The results will be published on Feb. 3.

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