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Precious Metals  
16 October 2017

Northam Platinum receives long term credit rating upgrade

Global Credit Rating has upgraded JSE-listed Northam Platinum’s long term credit rating to A-(ZA) from BBB+(ZA) and reaffirmed its short term credit rating at A1-(ZA).

Northam Platinum’s credit rating upgrade was achieved despite the current and ongoing challenges being faced by the mining industry, further illustrating the group’s resilience and ability to maintain a strong capital base and liquidity position.

Northam Platinum’s credit rating upgrade is based on the following key considerations:

  • The realisation of projected benefits of Northam Platinum’s fully funded R6.6 billion black economic empowerment transaction through the acquisition of quality platinum group metal (PGM) assets at favourable prices
  • Additional sources of production being expected from Northam Platinum’s recent transactions, including the acquisition of the Tumela block and the Eland platinum mine, and further geographical and segmental diversification through the acquisition of the PGM recycling assets in the United States of America
  • A 60% increase in Northam Platinum’s operating profit as a result of improved metal prices, lower costs of production, general economies of scale and the implementation of stringent cost controls
  • The easing of Northam Platinum’s corporate risk profile as a result of Booysendal North maintaining steady state production for two years and becoming the second operational mine of the group
  • A strong improvement in Northam Platinum’s operating cash flows, up from R952.7 million for the financial year ended 30 June 2016 to R1.1 billion for the financial year ended 30 June 2017
  • A strong capital base, with R1.8 billion in cash as at 30 June 2017, well in excess of the R425 million in interest bearing obligations, as well as the availability of a R1 billion revolving credit facility (which increases to R1.5 billion H2, F2018), asserting the company’s strong liquidity position in the medium-term
  • A further positive rating migration is predicted on the development of Booysendal South and recently acquired ore bodies, which should see a continued widening of the group’s operating margins and sustainability of cash flows and credit protection metrics

Feature image credit: Wikimedia

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