Sunday, August 20, 2017
Phoevos Pouroulis

Phoevos Pouroulis

Tharisa

WHAT any other mining company might describe as its ultimate goal, Pouroulis describes as “apotheosis”, which knowingly or unknowingly references the Greek-Cypriot heritage of the firm’s founding family. The share price of the chrome and platinum group metal company reached something of an apotheosis of R28.75/share in November after Pouroulis said Tharisa’s R1bn funding facility had passed the project completion test, which meant the interest rate would reduce. Still, Tharisa’s shares have never got back to the placement price of R38 of its April 2014 listing. The timing of a listing was unfortunate because platinum and chrome prices were well off their peaks, but it was dictated by obligations to Tharisa’s seed funders. Two-and-a-half years later, platinum and chrome prices are even weaker, although better than they were in the first half of 2016. What’s driving the share price is the successful ramp-up to full production of its Tharisa mine – no mean feat as Pouroulis has managed to tackle hurdles like under-performing contractors, safety stoppages, and water shortages. Full production is coinciding with recovering demand in China, Tharisa’s main market for chrome ore. This has given management the optimism to declare Tharisa’s first-ever dividend and the grounds for thinking that the last 12 months have been a watershed period ahead of more bountiful times.

LIFE OF PHOEVOS

He didn’t fall into the mining industry by accident: he’s the son of well-known mining entrepreneur Loucas Pouroulis. He has a business degree from Boston University. But Phoevos has a softer side too, as chairman of Spitfire Music and Music for the Children Foundation.

“The DNA of our business has been put to the test during these volatile times.”