Thungela down 30% this year as forecasts hefty earnings slide

THUNGELA Resources, the Johannesburg-listed coal miner, on Friday forecast a steep decline in earnings for the 12 months ended December 2021.

Share earnings would be between 69% and 73% lower year-on-year to R34 to R39 per share for the period. On a headline basis, share earnings would be 72% to 76% lower to a range of R31 to R36 per share.

Shares in Thungela were just over 5% lower on the JSE in mid-morning trade taking year-to-date losses to nearly 30%. On a 52 week basis, the stock is nearly 50% down.

In rand terms the decline on a headline basis year-on-year is between R94.82 to R99.82 and includes one-off costs related to the acquisition of Ensham, a coal mine in Australia’s Queensland state.

The results will be presented on March 18.

The export price for thermal coal has eased year on year but has nonetheless performed reasonably well and is currently around $95/t. The deterioration for Thungela is on the volume side owing to a decline in freight capacity at Transnet Freight Rail.

Commenting in his pre-financial year-end close in December, Thungela’s CFO Deon Smith said exports from the firm’s South African mines in 2023 of 12.1 million tons (Mt), were 7.6% lower than the 13.1Mt his company railed in its 2022 financial year.

“The inconsistent and poor Transnet rail performance continued to weigh heavily on the South African coal mining industry and indeed on the group’s results in the second half of the year,” said Smith at the time.