Gold problems hold back Minorco ambitions: Operating loss dollars 2.9m at interim stage, but chairman anticipates an upturn
The European arm of the giant South African De Beers-Anglo American empire made a dollars 2.9m operating loss at the interim stage. It had to rely on more than dollars 60m - exact figures are not given - of income from its dollars 1.7bn cash pile and dollars 52.6m of profits from companies in which it holds minority stakes to generate pre-tax profits of dollars 109.2m in the six months to 31 December (dollars 105.6m).
But a dollars 1.8m extraordinary charge, mainly costs of the sale of non-core businesses, compared with a dollars 9.2m extraordinary credit in the previous year, pushed earnings after tax and extraordinary items down from dollars 107.2m to dollars 99.6m.
Julian Ogilvie Thompson, Minorco's chairman, admitted the company had been hit by weak commodity prices, particularly gold.
But he insisted that its strong financial position and the efforts it had made to improve efficiency meant it would benefit from any upturn in economic activity.
Gold sales, down 15 per cent, and a gold price which ended 1992 at dollars 333 an ounce, 7 per cent below its December 1991 level, produced operating losses in the precious metals division of dollars 13.1m (dollars 4.2m profit).
Agribusiness profits are traditionally concentrated in the first six months of each year. Nevertheless, at dollars 23.2m (dollars 11.5m loss), the loss was worse than usual because of higher costs for natural gas combined with soft fertiliser prices.
On the brighter side, industrial minerals and base metals made profits of dollars 23m (dollars 0.3m) and dollars 10.4m (dollars 3.1m) respectively.
The company said the full-year figures would show an extraordinary gain of around dollars 75m resulting from the sale in March of a 38.4 per cent stake in Johnson Matthey, the precious metal refiner, by Minorco's associate Charter Consolidated. Minorco was also part-purchaser of the stake but the finance director, David Fisher, said it would not account for the gain on the element of the stake bought.
Roger Chaplin, a mining analyst with Credit Lyonnais Laing, said he was still waiting for evidence that Minorco had taken any steps towards becoming a 'hands on' operating company, its declared aim 18 months ago. 'If anything it is going backwards,' he said.
The shares closed at dollars 13.30.
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
Costa Concordia finally towed from Giglio amid environmental concerns that cruise liner is a 'floating bomb'
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
iJobs Money & Business
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...
£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...