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UPDATE 1-Amplats H1 earnings jump on higher PGM prices

Kitco News

(Adds detail, CEO comment)

JOHANNESBURG, July 22 (Reuters) - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) half-year earnings more than doubled helped by higher metals prices and a stock count adjustment, the South African mining company said on Monday.

Higher prices for precious metals and a weaker rand currency have improved operating conditions for South African producers.

Amplats said headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the six months to June 30 rose by 120% to 28.15 rand ($2.02) per share from 12.82 rand a year earlier.

The price of platinum has risen 7.1% in 2019 to set the metal up for its biggest gain in seven years.

Earnings were also supported by a stock gain of 1 billion rand.

"We’ve seen steady production from our operations, though certain headwinds, including Eskom power shortages and strike action at Mototolo, have impacted our first half performance but we expect to see a stronger performance in H2 2019," CEO Chris Griffith said in a statement.

Eskom cut power across the country in February and March as low coal supplies, a cash crunch, and multiple failures at its ageing power stations curbed supply.

Platinum production during the period dipped to 992,200 ounces from 1,005,700 ounces during the same time last year.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to 12.4 billion rand compared with 6.8 billion rand a year earlier.

The precious metals producer declared an interim dividend of 11 rand per share, compared with 3.74 rand during the same period a year ago.

($1 = 13.9313 rand)

(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; additional reporting Helen Reid; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)

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