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Amplats cuts loss in 2013, faces new strike

South African mining group Anglo American (Amplats), the world's biggest platinum miner, reported on Monday a sharply reduced net loss for 2013 after long strikes hit results hard in 2012.

JOHANNESBURG: South African mining group Anglo American (Amplats), the world's biggest platinum miner, reported on Monday a sharply reduced net loss for 2013 after long strikes hit results hard in 2012.

The company, now embroiled in a new strike, reported a loss of 568 million rand ($51.2 million) from a loss of 6.4 billion rand in 2012.

The business, which is 80-percent owned by British-South African group Anglo American, said that on a comparable basis excluding unusual charges, it made a net profit of 1.451 billion rand from a loss of 1.5 billion rand.

The unusual factors excluded in that calculation were charges for restructuring and depreciation, and increases in taxation.

The group switched into an operating profit of 1.968 billion rand from a loss of 6.334 billion rand.

Sales rose by 22.0 percent to 52.4 billion rand ($4.73 billion), boosted by an increase in the volume of production and by the fall of the rand against the dollar.

In 2012, production in South Africa was severely disrupted by a strike which lasted for eight weeks.

Since January 23 this year, the company is again being affected by a strike in demand for a big wage increase by the radical trade union Amcu.

The strike is also hitting competitor companies Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin.

Talks to find a solution to this strike are to resume on Tuesday.

On Monday, workers at refineries and foundries operated by the company in South Africa also went on strike.

Restructuring in 2013 involved the departure of 7,450 people during the year, Amplats said.

Last year, the company had envisaged reducing its workforce by 14,000 people, or nearly a quarter of its total number of employees, but had to revise this downwards under opposition from the government and trades unions.

The company commented in its results statement that it "implemented a major restructuring in 2013, creating a difficult environment for many Anglo American Platinum employees and resulting in a challenging year for labour relations."

It also said that in 2013 "gross global platinum demand increased by 6.0 percent, as a 14-percent increase in industrial demand and a 102-percent increase in investment demand more than offset the five-percent decline in autocatalyst demand and the one-percent decline in jewellery demand during the year."

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