Johannesburg, South Africa — 29 August 2013 – Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats) “’ the world’s second largest platinum producer “’ has suffered a 50% drop in full-year earnings and profits as a tough labour environment, depressed prices and higher-than-inflation cost increases combined to have a substantial negative effect on performance.

In its results statement released here, Implats added that headline earnings per share had fallen to 330 cents in the year to end-June from 685c a year earlier, a drop of 52%, reports Bloomberg News.

Implats produced 1.58Moz of equivalent refined platinum, an increase of 9% from a year earlier. The metal slid 3.5 % to average US$1,549/oz in the year.

The company was  hit by R2.3 billion in write-downs during the financial year, including a R1billion reduction in the value of African Platinum, which it acquired in 2007. It is the first major platinum producer to write down the value of its assets after a steep fall in platinum prices during the first half of 2013.

"The platinum industry is facing extremely tough times with static platinum group metal basket prices, low productivity, cost pressures and industrial relations challenges," Implats said in its results statement.

Productivity has been constrained by ongoing tensions between rival unions whose turf war for members triggered a crippling illegal strike 18 months ago at Implats’ key Rustenburg operations, which are still recovering.

Source: Bloomberg News/Fin24.