Company news in brief

SA’s Telkom Q3 profit flatTelkom, South Africa’s third-biggest telecom company, reported flat third-quarter core profit yesterday, as cost-reduction initiatives partially offset inflationary pressures, expenses due to power cuts and increased bad debt provisions.

The earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was stable at R2.5 billion in the three months ended 31 December, the company said in a statement.

But the resulting EBITDA margin at 21.9% decreased, largely affected by product mix at its information and communications technology, or ICT, business BCX, higher-than-expected credit losses on trade receivables as retail and enterprises customers remained under pressure from the weak macroeconomic environment.

Overall group revenue ticked up 2% to R11.3 billion, driven by compelling data-connectivity propositions from the operator’s mobile and fixed networks. Mobile revenue was up 4.8% at R5.9 billion, while Openserve - its fibre business - fixed data next generation revenue growth was at 6.2%. – ReutersNortham slumps 5%Shares of Northam Platinum fell almost 5% yesterday morning after it warned shareholders that a climb in production in its six months to end-December hadn’t been enough to offset slumping prices.

Headline earnings per share could fall as much as 97.5%, the company said, and it is also still counting the costs of its failed bid for Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat).

Sales fell 25.5% to R15 billion despite a 10.6% rise in production of its basket of four metals to 434 977 ounces, with prices falling 42.3% in rand terms. After an initial slump, shares in Northam, valued at R42 billion on the JSE, had recovered to trade 4.5% lower in morning trade on the JSE. They have fallen about 31% in the past twelve months.

The group said yesterday the results “underpinned a solid production performance and effective cost control at all operations”, but it also took an almost R800 million hit when disposing of Impala Platinum shares.

Northam announced in late 2023 that it would sell to Impala Platinum (Implats) its almost 35% stake in RBPlat, which it had acquired as part of a failed plan to eventually gain control of the company. – Fin24Lucara revives deal with HB AntwerpLucara Diamond has revived a gem sales agreement with polishing and trading company HB Antwerp, it said yesterday, five months after severing ties with the Belgian business.

Canadian miner Lucara said it will supply HB Antwerp with rough diamonds of 10.8 carats and above for 10 years from last December.

Lucara had terminated its relationship with HB Antwerp last September because of what it said was “a material breach of financial commitments”.

Botswana, where Lucara mines diamonds at its Karowe project, has been reassessing plans to acquire 24% of HB Antwerp. The two companies’ first diamond sales agreement was struck in 2020 and extended for 10 years in 2022.

Lucara said the purchase price for rough stones in its revised deal would be based on mutual agreement of the estimated value of polished diamonds, with a further payment based on actual achieved polished sales. – Reuters


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