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Implats plans R4 billion share sale, cuts capex

Impala Platinum plans to raise R4 billion in a share sale to fund the development of two shafts.

Impala Platinum’s Marula mine in Limpopo. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Impala Platinum plans to raise R4 billion in a share sale to fund the development of two shafts at its strike-ridden South African operations, the company said on Thursday, sending its shares tumbling to 12-year lows.

Impala, along with rivals Lonmin and Anglo American Platinum, is still recovering from 2014's record five-month strike that cost the industry billions in lost output, damaged the viability of some mines and led to job cuts.

Global growth concerns, particularly in top consumer China, and oversupply have sapped demand for platinum, pushing the spot price to near 6-1/2 year lows just above $1,000 an ounce.

Impala, the world's second-largest producer of the precious metal, said it would use the money, to be raised via an accelerated book-building, to complete two shafts in Rustenburg, the centre of last year's strike.

"We think this is just the beginning and that others, not least of which Lonmin, are also short of capital given the weak PGM (platinum group metals) market," Investec Securities said.

Lonmin's CEO has said mines were not responding to cash injections and investors were unlikely to look favourably on capital requests from mining firms.

But Implats said investors holding a 49 percent stake in the company, including the Coronation Fund Managers and the Public Investment Corporation, support its cash raising plan.

While shifting its focus to cash-saving because of deteriorating platinum prices and the effects of the strike, Implats will spend R3,9 billion over the next three years on shaft 16 and 20, which contain cheaper to mine higher grade ore.

"It is critical at this stage to safeguard the completion of key capital projects, the suspension or abandonment of which would have a materially adverse impact on the long term value of the Group," Implats said.

At the same time Impala planned to shave R1,3 billion from 2016 capital expenditure to R4,2 billion by closing some unprofitable shafts and delaying capital projects.

Implats had R2,5 billion in cash by June, down 40 percent from the previous year and did not pay a dividend.

Its shares fell as much as 15 percent before recovering to trade 6,75 percent lower at 43,40 rand by 1336 GMT.

Implats posted a 58 percent drop in full-year headline earnings per share to 36 cents.

Headline EPS is a widely watched measure in South Africa that strips out some one-off items.

Gross refined platinum production rose 8,3 percent to 1,276 million ounces in the year to June.

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