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A predictable financial performance from JSE-listed Wescoal and its equity injection provide a platform for it to advance discussions with long term debt providers.

Wescoal has produced a solid performance as reflected in the coal mining and distribution group’s integrated annual report for FY16 in the face of a period the industry described as ‘operating under uncertain policy’ and doubts about long-term sustainability.

Wescoal
Wescoal CFO, Izak van der Walt.

Wescoal CFO, Izak van der Walt points to a strong operational performance in the mining division underpinned by the flagship Elandspruit Colliery at steady state and the consistent performance from the trading division has seen group revenue increase by 33% from R1.59 billion in 2016 to R2.12 billion in 2017.

“The group improved its balance sheet strength through the BEE transaction which was completed in December 2016 injecting R178 million fresh equity into the business and locking in BEE equity ownership of 58.93%.

“The predictable financial performance and the equity injection provide a platform for us to advance our discussions with long term debt providers, culminating in the group securing long-term debt funding for the business post year end,” he points out.

Van der Walt says he is now able to align his sights on playing an active role in financial strategy formulation for the group which has become solidly grounded in the coal mining and distribution sectors.

“Being an enabling ‘partner’ in the business allows for focusing on a healthy cash flow and a strong balance sheet which in turn present opportunities for consolidation of the coal mining space through acquisitions and other actions.

“The CEO and management team recently concluded the Keaton acquisition giving Wescoal a stronger asset base and additional experience in this arena.

“I have been part of this structure for nearly three years and draw on this for my contribution to a team dedicated to realising good results for all stakeholders in general and shareholders in particular.”

Chartered Accountant Van der Walt  (BCompt, BCompt Honours and CTA qualifications (articles with Price Waterhouse Coopers) was recently appointed CFO for Wescoal.

He joined Wescoal in 2015 as group financial specialist and shortly after became acting CFO for nearly a year -providing high level guidance to the board and leadership to operations as part of the executive management team.

Van der Walt currently serves as executive director to Wescoal subsidiary boards including Wescoal Mining and the recently acquired Keaton.

He says that the inclusion of IT, property, insurance and enterprise risk management in his portfolio will not interfere with his independence as an objective voice to management and the board.

“I see added value in the diversity which this CFO role brings… a value that enhances the company and ultimately all our stakeholders.

“However, I am also cognisant of the difficult financial climate the mining industry is experiencing, the uncertainty of the legislative and political developments impinging on the economy and the need for investment devoted to transformation.”

Van der Walt is a chartered accountant and member of the Public Accountants & Auditors Board. Prior to joining Wescoal he gained over 14 years’ experience in the mining sector in various financial management roles locally and internationally.

Feature image credit: Wikimedia Commons