ST HELENA GOLD MINES St Helena Gold Mines says improved productivity under a new bonus-oriented wage scheme has extended its lifespan by 11 years and could prolong it still further. The new scheme lowered the pay limit of the mine to 800 centimetre grams a ton (cmg/t) of ore in February, from 1 200 cmg/t in February last year.
The pay limit is the point at which the mine can extract gold profitably. The lower pay limit means the mine's life at current mining rates has been lengthened from seven years to 18.7 years. The mine - which a year ago was faced with closure - aims to further reduce the pay limit to 600 cmg/t, which will give it a 21-year lifespan.
ELANDSRAND-DEELKRAAL Anglo American Corp's low cost Elandsrand mine will merge with neighbouring Deelkraal, operated by Gold Fields of SA - a move which will help Anglo exploit the gold resources known as Western Ultra Deep levels. In a R420-million deal, Deelkraal shareholders will be issued with 20 new Elandsrand ordinary shares for every 100 Deelkraal ordinary shares held. Deelkraal will subsequently be de-listed.
RANDGOLD Randgold is establishing a new company which will take over Knights and will try to acquire the land-clearing and gold-recovery operations of RMP Properties. This follows an agreement between Randgold and Australian-based Continental Goldfields, which has an indirect 29% stake in Knights, to set up a JSE-listed vehicle. The venture will be capitalised by a R95-million contribution from Randgold and R5-million from Continental.
SA DRUGGISTS Despite challenging trading conditions in the healthcare industry in the six months to February, SA Druggists' operating income rose 33% to R121-million on a 15.1% turnover rise to R1.7-billion. Earnings a share - excluding R112-million from the renegotiation of certain products rights with Wyeth and R61-million spent on development and restructuring -- rose by 12% to 89.6c. Directors are confident of meeting SAD's target of about 15% growth for the full year. An interim dividend of 31c (28c) a share was declared.
HARMONY Harmony Gold Mining has upped its offer to shareholders of Consolidated Modderfontein Mines. In addition to its offer last month to Cons Modder shareholders of six Harmony shares for every 100 Cons Modder stocks held, it will pay a cash consideration of R10 for every 100 shares held. This new scheme values each Cons Modder share at 239c - a 39% premium over the ruling market price on February 14.
FOODCORP The continuing rationalisation of its red meat business and strong performances in its snacks and milling divisions helped Foodcorp boost its turnover by 5% to R1.6-billion despite highly competitive trading conditions in the half-year to February. Attributable earnings are up 15% to R69-million or 130c a share on an undiluted basis. An interim dividend of 32c was declared. Directors say Foodcorp will achieve its forecast of 12% to 15% earnings growth for the full year.
BARLOWS Barlows is to acquire the remaining 23.8% of the shares held by minorities in its international subsidiary J Bibby and Sons. Bibby has been valued at around £315-million and the minority shares - net of the subscription price of options - at about £70-million. Each shareholder will receive cash of 195p a share, of which 5p will be a special dividend to be paid to all shareholders.
ALUSAF Aluminium producer Alusaf has signed a "housekeeping" agreement with Mozambique on the proposed $1.2-billion Mozal aluminium smelter but is still trying to cut costs to make the project commercially viable. The smelter, to be built near Maputo, will have the capacity to produce 245 000 tons of aluminium a year.
FNB NAMIBIA First National Bank of Namibia on Thursday became the first local bank to list on the Namibian Stock Exchange following its successful N$167-million share offer. A total of 44-million shares were sold at an offer price of 380c a share representing 22% of FNB Namibia's share capital.
SOUTHERN LIFE Southern Life has invested R45-million in a scheme aimed at providing working capital loans of R100-million for low-income housing projects. The agreement with the National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency was sealed by Southern's Futuregrowth portfolio of funds.