Amplats drops into the red in 2012

The world's biggest platinum miner, Anglo American Platinum, has announced that it swung to a big loss in 2012 as it was hit by strikes and lower prices in the second half.

The world's biggest platinum miner, Anglo American Platinum, has announced that it swung to a big loss in 2012 as it was hit by strikes and lower prices in the second half.

The group, widely known as 'Amplats', said that headline earnings per share are expected to fall to a loss of between 491 cents and 628 cents for last year, well below the profit of 1,365 cents reported in 2011.

Amplats, a subsidiary of UK-listed resources giant Anglo American, said that sales volumes during 2012 were affected by two-month-long illegal industrial action which resulted in an initial safety suspension and ramp-up period.

Total lost equivalent refined platinum production, including from joint ventures and associates, amounted to 306,000 ounces. What's more, the losses in production meant that unit cost operating costs increased during the period.

Amplats also recorded losses of 463m rand (£33m) resulting from the revaluation of certain investments and 6,606m rand (£472m) for the write-down of the value of various assets that are no longer considered "economically viable". As such, the company said that basic earnings per share are forecast to drop to between 2,487 cents and 2,624 cents in 2012, from a profit of 1,374 cents in 2011.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters on Monday afternoon, Amplats is likely to sell or shut down its 85%-owned Union mine in South Africa, which produced 254,000 ounces of platinum in 2011.

According to an unnamed spokeswoman from the company, Amplats is expected to announce a review of its assets on Tuesday.

Shares in Anglo American were down 0.15% at 2,039p in London by 15:10.

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