- Higher US dollar prices and increased sales volumes for products
- Headline earnings increased by 127,2% to R736,0 million
- Final dividend increased from 150 cents to 200 cents per share
- Capacity of new Khumani Iron Ore Mine increased during the year from 8,4 to 10 million tons and construction on schedule
Headline earnings for the year have increased by 127,2% to R736,0 million due mainly to a significant increase in the earnings of Assmang Limited (Assmang) and increased commissions received on sales of group products. Assore holds a 50% interest in Assmang which is proportionately consolidated in accordance with group accounting policies.
Assmang’s earnings for the year increased by 99,8% due to increased sales volumes (refer table below) and increased US Dollar and Euro prices achieved for all products driven by increased production of carbon and stainless steels worldwide, but particularly in China. The results were also enhanced by a weaker average exchange rate compared to the previous year.
Attributable profit for the year increased by 69,4% to R774,7 million and included profit before tax on the disposal of listed investments in the previous year of R145,8 million compared to R43,0 million in the current year which are disclosed separately in the income statement.
Assmang’s turnover for the year under review reached a record level of R6,1 billion (2006 : R4,4 billion) and sales volumes for all products were also at record levels except for chrome ore and manganese alloys which were marginally lower as reflected in the table below:
|Metric tons ‘000|
|Iron Ore||6 855||5 926||15,7|
|Manganese ore *||2 327||1 678||38,7|
|Manganese alloys *||251||260||(3,5)|
|Chrome ore *||172||178||(3,4)|
* Excluding intra-group sales
The bulk of the group’s capital expenditure occurs in Assmang which amounted to R2,2 billion (2006: R705 million) during the period under review. Of this R1,7 billion (comprising 42% of the total project capital) was spent on the construction of the first phase of the new Khumani Iron Ore Mine.
Construction of the 10 million ton per annum Khumani Iron Ore Mine at a capital cost of R4 billion is on schedule to produce first tonnage for export in the second quarter of 2008 as planned and total capital committed to date amounted to R2,4 billion. The project will be funded from operating cash flows and debt facilities at the Assmang level.
World carbon steel production continues to expand driven mainly by demand from China which is resulting in increased demand for iron ore, manganese ore and manganese alloys.
As a result, prices for manganese ore and manganese alloys continued to strengthen and the annual contract price for iron ore is expected to increase with effect from April 2008, which is the start of the new contract year.
Production of stainless steel has shown strong growth propelled mainly by China, resulting in strong demand for ferrochrome and chrome ore with consequent higher prices. However stainless steel mills have recently moderated production which could result in markets for ferrochrome being oversupplied and the possibility of lower prices.
US Dollar and Euro exchange rates will continue to be an important factor in the determination of earnings for the forthcoming year.
The results in this announcement include the interim dividend of 150 cents (2006 : 80 cents) per share which was declared on 19 February 2007 and paid to shareholders on 19 March 2007.
The Board has declared an increased final dividend of 200 cents (2006: 150 cents) making the total dividend for the year 350 cents (2006: 230 cents).The final dividend will be paid to shareholders on or about 25 September 2007 and is not included in the results as it was declared after year end.
Ernst & Young Inc., the group’s auditors, have reviewed the financial results. A copy of their report is available for inspection at the company’s registered office.
ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND BASIS OF PREPARATION
The financial statements have been prepared on the historical cost basis, in accordance with IAS34 – Interim Financial Reporting, except for financial instruments that are fairly valued, in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the International Accounting Standards Board and incorporate accounting policies which are consistent with those adopted in the financial year ended 30 June 2006, except for the adoption of changes to IAS39, IFRS6, IFRIC9 and IFRIC10. The adoption of these accounting policies has had no impact on the financial statements.
DECLARATION OF FINAL DIVIDEND
Final dividend No. 101 of 200 cents per share was declared on 29 August 2007, in the currency of the Republic of South Africa. In accordance with STRATE, the following dates apply to the dividend declared:
The last date to trade to qualify for the dividend (and for changes of address or dividend instructions) will be Friday, 14 September 2007.
The company’s ordinary shares will commence trading “ex” the dividend from the commencement of business on Monday, 17 September 2007.
The record date will be Friday, 21 September 2007.
Dividend cheques in payment of this dividend to holders of certificated shares will be posted on or about Tuesday, 25 September 2007. Electronic payment to holders of certificated shares will be undertaken simultaneously.
Holders of dematerialised shares will have their accounts at their Central Securities Depository Participant or broker credited on Tuesday, 25 September 2007.
Share certificates may not be dematerialised or rematerialised between Monday, 17 September 2007 and Friday, 21 September 2007, both days inclusive.
On behalf of the board
|Desmond Sacco||C J Cory|
|Chairman||Chief Executive Officer|
|31 August 2007|
|Registered office||Transfer office||Directors|
|Assore House||Computershare Investor||Executive|
|15 Fricker Road||Services 2004 (Pty) Ltd||Desmond Sacco (Chairman)|
|IIlovo Boulevard||70 Marshall Street||R J Carpenter (Deputy Chairman)|
|Johannesburg 2196||Johannesburg 2001||C J Cory (Chief Executive Officer)|
|P C Crous (Technical and Operations)|
|African Mining and||P N Boynton|
|Trust Company Limited||B M Hawksworth|
|M C Ramaphosa|
|Dr J C van der Horst|
|Company registration number: 1950/037394/06||J W Lewis (British)|
|Share code: ASR ISIN: ZAE000017117||P E Sacco|