Liquid ferrochrome
caste into moulds
at Merafe smelter
Johannesburg, South Africa — 08 August 2012 – South African ferrochrome producer Merafe Resources has reported a 62% rise in first-half profit, despite a sharp drop in production following the company’s decision to shut some furnaces to cut power demand.

Reuters reports that the country’s largest ferrochrome producer confirmed first-half diluted headline earnings per share of 5.5 cents, in the middle range of its guidance to the market, compared to 3.4 cents in the same period last year.

Production of the ferrochrome metal, which is used in steel-making, fell 21% in the six months to the end of June.

Merafe, which operates a joint venture with London-listed Xstrata, struck a deal with state-owned utility Eskom to shut seven of its furnaces until the end of May and allow the power producer to buy back the electricity the plants would have consumed.

The compensation provided by Eskom was adequate to cover for lost profits from the suspended output, the company said.

Merafe also said that its flagship Lion II project to lift production at its Lion ferrochrome plant remained on budget and on track to be completed in the second half of 2013.

Shares in the company are down nearly 12% so far this year, compared with a 10.19% rise in Johannesburg’s All-Share index.

Source: Reuters Africa. For more information, click here.