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Kumba Iron Ore expects surging interim profits after price recovery

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Kumba Iron Ore said it expects half-year profits to rise by as much as 58 percent due to a recovery in iron ore prices.

Kumba, which is 70 percent owned by Anglo American, said headline earnings per share (EPS) were likely to be between 13.70 rand and 14.85 rand for the six months through June, an increase of between 46 percent and 58 percent.

“The increase in earnings for the period is largely attributable to higher export iron ore prices, partially offset by the stronger rand/US$ exchange rate,” the company said in a statement.

Headline EPS is the main profit measure in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items.

Shares in Kumba were down 1.2 percent at 171.50 rand by 0710 GMT, hit by a near 3 percent drop in China’s iron ore futures after data added to concerns about surplus supply.

 

(Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Susan Fenton)

 

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Kumba appoints new CEO, H1 earnings rise 20%

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Kumba Iron Ore said on Tuesday that Themba Mkhwanazi would take the helm as chief executive from Sept 1, replacing┬áNorman Mbazima, who is stepping down to focus on his role as deputy chairman of Anglo American South Africa.

* Mkhwanazi, a former Rio Tinto manager, has been chief executive officer of Anglo American’s Coal South Africa business since May 2014.

* Kumba’s first-half results came in as expected, with the Anglo American unit posting a 20 percent rise in headline earnings per share to 9.41 rand.

* Kumba had flagged to the market that it expected first-half profit to increase between 14 and 23 percent because of a deferred tax asset in the comparative period.

 

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Joe Brock)

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Kumba Iron Ore sees 2015 profit plunging as supply glut persists

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Kumba Iron Ore said on Tuesday it expected full-year earnings to December 2015 plunge as much as 67 percent as it battled slumping prices for the steel-making ingredient.

The unit of Anglo American said headline earnings per share (EPS) are expected to fall by between 65 percent and 67 percent to 11.45 rand and 12.05 rand.

Kumba is due to release its full-year results on Feb. 9.

Headline EPS is the main gauge of profit in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items.

Iron ore prices fell about 35 percent in 2015 due to a supply glut and growth concerns in top consumer China, forcing Kumba to cut jobs and restructure its main mine, Sishen.

Kumba took a 6 billion rand ($374 million) writedown charge in 2015 for the reconfiguring of the Sishen mine.

Its shares initially fell as much as 8 percent before recouping losses to close 3.1 percent higher at 37.51 rand.

“The market had expected that there will be some write off. It is good that Kumba is taking the medicine it needs and focusing on cutting costs,” said Sanlam Private Wealth portfolio manager Greg Katzenellenbogen.

The world’s largest producer of iron ore, Vale SA, said on Thursday it would recommend to its board that no dividend be paid to shareholders this year because of the slump in commodity prices.

($1 = 16.0535 rand)

 

(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala and Thekiso Anthony Lefifi; Editing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and David Evans)

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South Africa’s Kumba Iron Ore tells union to brace for lay-offs

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Kumba Iron Ore has told South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) it will issue lay-off notices this year if low prices persist for the steel-making ingredient, the union’s general secretary said on Wednesday.

“The price has put them in dire straights and there is a prospect of them issuing a Section 189 notice at Sishen mine,” NUM General Secretary David Sipunzi told Reuters.

He was referring to the regulatory process South African employers must follow before they lay off staff.

“They have been trying to sensitise us to this possibility. If the price remains like this for a few months they will have no choice but to issue a Section 189,” he said.

Officials from Kumba were not immediately available for comment.

The group has said it plans to reconfigure its Sishen mine, the largest iron ore operation in Africa, and was targeting 2016 production there of 26 million tonnes, down from a previous guidance of 36 million tonnes.

Lay-offs are a politically thorny issue in South Africa, where the jobless rate is around 25 percent and local elections are expected this year. The NUM is also a key political ally of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Sipunzi said he expected to see more lay-off notices this year from other sectors but the union wanted to work with companies to find ways to minimise job cuts.

In line with other commodities, prices for iron ore have been sliding due to oversupply and and slowing economic growth in China, the world’s bigest metals consumer.

Mining giant BHP Billiton said on Wednesday that it saw no recovery in iron ore or coal prices in the next few years.

 

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia)

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