May 12, 2020 / 6:48 AM / 25 days ago

Sibanye Stillwater first-quarter earnings surge on strong metal prices

(Reuters) - Platinum producer Sibanye Stillwater SSWJ.J on Tuesday posted a sharp rise in first-quarter core earnings, benefiting from higher metal prices and robust output from its South Africa and U.S. operations.

The company, which is the world’s largest producer of the metal, also said its South African operations were ramping up as planned following partial easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the country in April 2020.

The miner cut its full-year forecast for capital expenditure by about $60 million for its platinum group metals (PGM) business and by 840 million rand for its South African PGM operations after a review of non-essential capital costs amid the coronavirus crisis.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization rose to 11.13 billion rand ($601.10 million) for the quarter ended March 31 from 808 million rand a year earlier.

“Precious metals prices remained buoyant during Q1 2020, with palladium and rhodium prices reaching record levels, before falling in late March 2020 as rising concerns about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said.

Sibanye last month withdrew its operating forecast for 2020 due to coronavirus-related uncertainties.

Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Anil D'Silva

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