Merafe Resources reports robust demand for ferrochrome in 2021

2021 has been a year of recovery for the Glencore Merafe Pooling and Sharing Venture (“Venture”), both from a financial and operational perspective. Improved economic activity contributed to robust demand for ferrochrome, which coupled with supply constraints resulted in a marked increase in prices.

This activity also led to higher volumes sold, however, the impact on revenue was somewhat dampened by a stronger Rand:USD exchange rate. Merafe achieved the highest profit after tax since the formation of the Venture in 2004. The Board of Directors of Merafe (the “Board”) has declared a final cash dividend of R549.8 million on 22 March 2022, bringing the total dividends for the year to R724.7 million.

KEY FEATURES

  • 30% decrease in TRIFR to 2.75 (2020: 3.91)
  • 43% increase in ferrochrome production to 379kt (2020: 265kt)
  • 69% increase in revenue to R8 063 million (2020: R4 780 million)
  • Decrease in production cost per tonne by 5% (2020: 8% increase)
  • Increase in EBITDA to R2 432 million (2020: R168 million)
  • Headline earnings per share of 67 cents (2020: loss of 0.8 cents)
  • Basic earnings per share of 66.8 cents (2020: loss of 40.0 cents)
  • Net cash generated from operating activities increased to R1 156 million (2020: R495 million)
  • Net cash of R972 million (2020: R278 million)
  • Cash dividend declared 22 cents per share (2020: Rnil)

OUTLOOK

The strong growth in stainless steel production as well as developments in China have been key to the buoyancy in the ferrochrome market in 2021. The efficiencies achieved in our operations not only responded to this demand, but assured us of the ability to operate at these levels sustainably. Our capital expenditure programme which is necessary to enable these performances was resumed in 2021 and will continue in 2022. There is expectation that global growth, while still positive, will slow down from the highs experienced in 2021. While the COVID-19 effects have been less damaging in recent periods, the pandemic remains a threat which we will continue to monitor.

We accordingly remain cautious in our approach to the future and will continue to focus on efficient operations, cash preservation, cost control and efficient capital allocation. The Platinum Group Metals (“PGM”) plant and green energy initiatives are some of the important and exciting projects that will receive management’s attention in 2022.

In accordance with our strategy, we remain committed to maximising return to our shareholders in the near term and we will continue to assess opportunities to deliver shareholder value.

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