August 30, 2017 / 7:15 AM / a year ago

Sibanye swings to first-half loss, hit by lawsuit provision, impairments

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African precious metals producer Sibanye Gold (SGLJ.J) reported an interim loss on Wednesday, citing impairments and provisions for an expected settlement with miners who contracted lung diseases at work.

FILE PHOTO: Mine security officials are searched as they leave Sibanye Gold's Masimthembe shaft in Westonaria, South Africa, April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

A class action lawsuit, mostly relating to the fatal lung disease silicosis, was filed on behalf of miners in 2012 and has led to mounting provisions related to the health and safety conditions afforded the black workforce during South Africa’s apartheid past.

The company posted a headline loss per share of 147 cents for the six months to June 30, in line with what it had previously flagged to the market. That compared with earnings of 79 cents in the same period last year.

The provision for the expected occupational healthcare settlement is 1.077 billion rand ($83 million).

Sibanye said the losses were also attributable to a 2.8 billion rand impairment charge relating to the cessation of its loss-making Cooke and Beatrix West gold operations and 402 million rand in costs associated with the acquisition of U.S. platinum producer Stillwater.

The company said in early August that it might lay off up to 7,400 employees at Beatrix West and Cooke. The latter was hit by a violent wildcat strike in June and has been targeted by illegal miners, adding to security and other costs.

The company also said it will also change its name to Sibanye-Stillwater.

The Gold Fields’ spin-off, which has positioned itself as a dividend play from the cash that flows from the mature gold and platinum deposits it mines in South Africa, did not declare an interim dividend.

Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by David Goodman

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