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S.African miner Impala Platinum earnings surge on higher output, metal prices

South African miner Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd posted a 123% surge in full-year profit on Thursday, boosted by higher prices of platinum group metals and increased output.

Adds details, background on metal prices

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 2 (Reuters) - South African miner Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd IMPJ.J posted a 123% surge in full-year profit on Thursday, boosted by higher prices of platinum group metals and increased output.

Its headline earnings per share, the primary profit measure for South African companies, for the 12 months ended June 30 was 4.64 rand, up from 2.08 rand posted a year ago, the company said.

Implats, as the company is known, announced a final dividend of 1.2 rand per share, bringing the total annual dividend to 2.2 rand cents per share.

PGM miners, who primarily mine platinum, palladium and rhodium, have profited immensely last year from a strong uptick in these precious commodities, led by demand for lesser emissions in auto fuels and years of low investments that hurt supply.

The auto industry uses the commodities for cleaning up exhaust fumes.

Implats witnessed almost 18% rise in platinum prices and 28% rise in palladium prices over the course of the last financial year, but rhodium shot through the roof with its price increasing by more than two and half times, it said.

Implats said its revenues for the last financial year came at 129.6 billion rand ($9.00 billion), up 86% from the previous reporting period.

The price of platinum and its sister metals have slipped since July, prompting investors and analysts to question whether the strong cycle has crossed its inflection point.

Implats said a moderation in investment demand is likely to result in the platinum market returning to surplus, which will be further compounded by the impact of the global semi-conductor chip shortage on automotive production.

Palladium should be in moderated deficit, while a more balanced market in rhodium till end of 2021, but demand is likely to grow again in 2022, the company said.

($1 = 14.4056 rand)

(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; editing by Wendell Roelf and Rashmi Aich)

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