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Northam H1 earnings more than double on production

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Northam Platinum, one of South Africa's smaller platinum producers, said
on Friday its first-half earnings more than doubled due to
significantly improved production and a higher average price.   

Diluted headline earnings per share totalled 51.8 cents for the six months to end-December from 20.9 cents a share in the same period a year earlier.

Headline earnings are the main profit gauge in South Africa, and strip out certain one-time items.

The company declared an interim dividend of 5 cents a share.

Production of metals in concentrate amounted to 4,592kg (147,636 ounces) in the six months, 27 percent higher than the 3,629kg (116,665 ounces) produced the year before.

The company expects production in the second half of the year to be lower owing to the increased number of public holidays in the period. It said its production was also highly dependent on geological conditions.

But it said if the rand basket price were to remain at current levels of 335,000 rand per kilogram earnings would be higher.

The company said a total of 489kg (15,700 ounces) of production was lost to safety stops in the six months.

Total cash costs were 2 percent lower at 273.812 rand per kilogram from 279,936 rand per kilogram previously.

Shares of the company are up 5.4 percent so far this year, compared with a 6.3 percent rise in Johannesburg's All-share index.