Tharisa lifts net cash 40% in Q3 following record volumes and robust PGM prices

THE wind is set fair for Tharisa, the chrome and platinum group metal (PGM) producer, which turned out record volumes in the third quarter.

Supported by PGM basket prices, which eased but remained elevated, the company increased net cash 40% to $41.8m as of June 30. This was after paying its interim dividend of $10.8m.

Phoevos Pouroulis, CEO of Tharisa, said in May the company was considering payment of a special dividend at the financial year-end point. “It is a discussion at the board level where I think it will be looked upon favourably,” said Pouroulis at the time. Tharisa pays a minimum 15% of net profit after tax. The payout for the interim was about 14%.

Commenting on the third quarter, Pouroulis said it had been “Operationally … one of the strongest in the company’s history”. It was on course for full-year production guidance of between 155,000 to 165,000 ounces of PGMs and between 1.45 to 1.55 million tons of chrome concentrate.

Tharisa reported 39,000 oz in PGMs compared to 35,800 oz in the previous quarter. Chrome concentrate production increased 5.9% to 379,700 tons.

Tharisa’s PGM basket price received was 15.6% higher quarter-on-quarter and was above $3 000/oz at the time of writing. This was despite the recent decline in the rhodium price, the company said.

“These price increases are a direct result of the increase in demand for our critical metals as economies focus on rebuilding post the global pandemic,” said Pouroulis.

“Moreover, given the rapid adoption of decarbonisation initiatives, we see these prices being sustainable for the foreseeable future.”

Commenting on the firm’s growth projects, Pouroulis said the Vulcan processing unit which would increase production a fifth was on course for completion by calendar year-end. Similarly, the firm’s Salene chrome project in Zimbabwe would be at ramp-up phase by year-end. The company exercised an option to take 90% control of Salene earlier this year and is now engaged in a $3.2m development programme.

Pouroulis said global efforts to decarbonise major economies would support the company’s PGM production in the long run.

Shares in the company are 3% higher in Johannesburg today taking gains over the past year to 93%.