Company news in brief
19 February 2020 | Business
Chief executive Chris Griffith said on Monday he will step down in April from the helm of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), which on Monday reported a doubling in annual earnings, driven by higher metals prices.
Amplats, a unit of global mining giant Anglo American, said Griffith's successor was expected to be an internal candidate and would be announced soon.
"After more than seven years at the helm, and given all that we as a team have achieved, this is now the natural time for the next generation of leadership to take this business forward and deliver further value," Griffith said.
The South Africa-based miner, which also has operations in Zimbabwe, said higher metal prices had driven its annual headline earnings per share - the main profit measure used in South Africa - nearly 2-1/2 times higher at R70.87, versus R28.93 a year earlier.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) doubled to R30 billion from the year-ago period.
Amplats declared a final dividend of R41.60 per share, made up of R16.60 base dividend and R25.00 special dividend, bringing the gross dividend, the highest since 2006, to R52.60 per share compared with R11.25 on-year. – Nampa/Reuters
Petra's diamonds lose lustre
Africa-focussed miner Petra Diamonds said the coronovirus outbreak had hit Chinese demand for diamonds, forcing it to push back targets for cashflow and debt reduction, sending its shares more than 20% lower.
Petra has been fixing its balance sheet after spending years investing in its flagship Cullinan mine in South Africa.
On Monday, it said the coronavirus outbreak had dented demand in the diamond market as stores were forced to close during the important Lunar New Year holiday period in China.
The company said the impact of the fast-spreading virus would cause delays in Project 2022, its debt reduction programme launched last year.
It cut its cash flow target to between US$100 million and US$150 million by June 2022, from its earlier range of US$150 million to US$200 million. Petra reported a 11% fall in core earnings for the first half, but said its full-year production outlook was unchanged. – Nampa/Reuters
Tullow Oil plugs offshore Peru well
Tullow Oil said it will plug and abandon its Marina-1 well in offshore Peru after drilling reached maximum depth without finding oil, in another sign of trouble for the British oil and gas explorer that sent its shares 8% lower.
The company's shares, which have lost nearly 80% of their value since November, have been pressured by weak output in Ghana, delays in East Africa and lower-than-hoped-for oil quality in Guyana.
Tullow, which has operations in more than 15 countries, counts its operations in the South American nation as one of its new ventures. The Marina well is located in 350 metres of water and was the first well to target deep water plays in the Tumbes Basin.
In January, Tullow said it would take a US$1.5 billion writedown after cutting its long-term oil price assumptions, downgrading reserves in Ghana and disappointing exploration wells.
A source earlier this month told Reuters Tullow plans to cut a third of its staff to save about US$20 million. Industry sources have also said the Africa-focused firm aimed to sell its Kenya projects, once vaunted as an engine for growth. – Nampa/Reuters
Apple unlikely to meet revenue guidance
Apple Inc warned on Monday it was unlikely to meet a sales target set just three weeks ago amid lost production and weakening demand in China from the coronavirus outbreak.
Manufacturing facilities in China that produce Apple's iPhone and other electronics have begun to reopen, but they are ramping up more slowly than expected, Apple said. That will mean fewer iPhones available for sale around the world, making Apple one of the largest Western firms to be hurt by the outbreak.
Some of its retail stores in the country remain closed or are operating at reduced hours, which will hurt sales this quarter. China accounted for 15% of Apple's revenue, or US$13.6 billion, last quarter, and supplied 18% of revenue in the year-ago quarter.
In late January, Apple had forecast US$63 billion to US$67 billion in revenue for the quarter ending in March. It did not offer a new revenue estimate nor provide a profit forecast on Monday.
Analysts have estimated that the virus may slash demand for smartphones by half in the first quarter in China, the world's biggest market for the devices. – Nampa/Reuters
‘Fire me,’ Nissan CEO tells shareholders
Nissan's new chief executive said yesterday he would accept being fired if he fails to turn around Japan's second biggest automaker which is grappling with plunging sales in the aftermath of the scandal surrounding ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn.
Makoto Uchida, who took over the top job in December, put his job on the line at a raucous shareholders' meeting, where he faced demands ranging from cutting executive pay to offering a bounty to bring Ghosn back to Japan after he fled to Lebanon.
Nissan's worsening performance has heaped pressure on the 53-year-old Uchida, formerly Nissan's China chief who became its third CEO since September, to come up with aggressive steps to revive the company.
Yesterday, Uchida, who faced repeated heckling by shareholders, said he was ready to face dismissal if he failed to improve profitability at the company, which is on course to post its worst annual operating profit in 11 years.
Last week, Nissan cut its dividend outlook to its lowest since the 2011 financial year, after dwindling car sales drove the company to post its first quarterly net loss in nearly a decade. – Nampa/Reuters