Gold Fields, one of the world’s largest gold producers, has announced lower profits for its September quarter, but pretty much in line with what the investment world was expecting. On a positive note, the company says the December quarter, will be substantially better than September, a quarter plagued by a labour strike and operational issues. Chief executive, Ian Cockerill, said on a conference call on Wednesday morning that if the current favourable gold price holds and operations continue to improve as they have over the previous couple of months, then the numbers will be better.
As a group, Gold Fields produced 30,892 kg of gold in the quarter, down from 33,523 kg. This was due to a wage strike on the South African operations, and the coming down off sterling June quarter in the international operations, which the company did give a heads up to, at the time.
In South Africa, cash costs were up nearly 7%, to R79,795/kg, with Beatrix’s costs up the most from R78,010/kg to R87,152/kg quarter on quarter. Although Mike Prinsloo, head of South African operations, says the operational difficulties have been dealt with and the mine is about 90% back to where it was.
Overall the South African operations made an operating profit of R170 million, compared to R223 million the quarter before.
Precious metals prices and the IRA accounts? What does this all mean?
Production at the international operations were also down, by 11.2%. Total cash costs were up 7% from R57,686/kg in June, to R61,768/kg in the September quarter. International operations generated an operating profit of R384.3 million in the three months to September, compared to R432.5 million in the June quarter. Now this is very interesting if you are in the gold backed retirement plan because the IRA companies are taking this into account when investing in precious metals. But what are the best individual retirement plan companies? We recommend regal assets and a few others, for more your should check out our review page.
In the June quarter, R708 million was generated from operating activities, in the September quarter a much lower R302.8 million was generated. As a result of this, and a R200 million dividend payment in the quarter, R431.2 million flowed out of the business, compared to a cash inflow of R256.7 million previously.
If the operational issues are largely resolved by now, as management says, and the gold price continues to hover around R100,000/kg, then Gold Fields could bounce right back by December.
Gold Fields shares were up 0.27%, at R92.80 each, by Wednesday afternoon in Johannesburg. The gold index was up by 0.37% for the day.