Amplats counts the cost of wildcat strikes

 

The world’s-biggest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), lost 6.3 billion rand  (£44.9 million) last year after it was hit by two months of wildcat strikes and lost production.

The huge loss compared with operating profits of of 7.9 billion rand in 2011.

Chief executive Chris Griffith said: “While we are not pleased with the operational and financial performance, it is important to put things in context. Operationally, 2012 was a challenging year for Anglo American Platinum and the platinum industry as a whole.

“The year was characterised by lower prices, illegal industrial action which impacted production, unit cost, labour productivity and, of course, profitability and earnings.”

Anglo American, the FTSE 100 company which is the largest shareholder in Amplats, said it would book a $225 million (£143 million) loss from the business against a profit of $410 million a year earlier.

Amplats said that it had lost 305,600 of platinum production due to the strikes which began in August. It said plans to reduce activities in 2013 to save on capital spending would lead to a reduction in output of some 400,000 ounces — about 7% of current global output.

That helped drive the platinum price to a four-month high of  $1,707 an ounce. The precious metal has gained 11% so far this year while gold is down 0.2%.

Amplats has put plans to cut 14,000 jobs on hold for at least 60 days to allow further talks with politicians and unions.

It is not paying a dividend.

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