This good result comes from a strong
performance at Black Wattle, our South African
coal mining subsidiary where, as a result of
the opening of a third opencast pit, our monthly
run of mine production has increased from
an average of 110,000 metric tonnes achieved
in the first half of 2011 to 165,000 metric
tonnes in the second half of 2012.
The physical demand for the lower quality
coal we are currently mining has remained
strong in both the domestic and export
markets and the South African coal market
has continued to benefit from the improved
performance of the South African railway
network, Transnet. This improved performance,
along with the weakening of the South African
Rand against the US Dollar, has helped us
offset the impact of the weaker international
coal prices. Demand is currently very strong
in both the domestic and export markets for
high quality coal. We expect to shortly address
this demand by accessing higher quality
reserves at Black Wattle.
On health and safety, I am very pleased to
report that Black Wattle had another very
good year. For further information on this
please refer to the Mining Review in this report.
The Company’s UK retail property portfolio,
which is managed by London & Associated
Properties PLC, continues to perform well
despite the ongoing difficulties in the UK
retail property sector. Voids across the
portfolio were at the very low level of 2.27%.
Because of the uncertainties of the price of
coal during the remainder of 2013 your
directors are recommending a final dividend
of 3p (2011: 3p) payable on 2 August 2013 to
shareholders registered at the close of
business on 5 July 2013 making the total for
the year 4p (2011: 4p). Although it is difficult
to forecast the results for the whole year, we
remain confident on the prospects for the
business in 2013.
On behalf of the Board I would like to thank
all of our staff for their hard work during the
course of the year.