Harmony bullish despite Q4 headline loss

[miningmx.com] — Harmony Gold Mining Company, the world’s 5th-largest listed gold miner, reported a fourth-quarter headline loss of 6c per share compared to a loss per share of 24c in the previous quarter, but said it was bullish on the gold price and output for the group’s next financial year.

Harmony said its results were boosted by the rise in the gold price, but were hit by an increase in operating costs on the back of higher electricity prices and winter tariffs.

The company’s total headline loss per share during the quarter – including discontinued operations – narrowed to 10 cents from 27 cents the previous quarter, but missed an average analyst forecast of 39c headline earnings per share.

Headline earnings are the key profit measure in South Africa, stripping out some one-off and non-trading items.

Gold production rose 4 percent from the previous quarter to 346 714 ounces, with total cash costs up from $829 per ounce to $831 per ounce during the previous three months.

Harmony recorded a 11 percent rise in the gold price during the quarter to 295 580 rand per kilogram.

Analysts had forecast a strong set of results for the company and its South African peers, betting on higher output and prices to offset increased electricity tariffs and a new revenue-based royalty charge.

Bigger rival Gold Fields posted a threefold increase in adjusted earnings per share for the June quarter while AngloGold Ashanti beat market consensus with its second-quarter figures.

Output in the next quarter would be affected by a temporary suspension of operations at the Joel North Shaft and an explosion at the Phakisa mine in South Africa, it said.

Harmony forecast a rise in gold output to around 1.7m ounces for the next financial year, up from the 1.4m ounces produced in the year to the end of June 2010, at a total cash costs of around 195 000 rand per kilogram.

The company declared a full-year dividend of 50 cents per share.