South Africa's DRDGold FY earnings up, b

August 26 [Mon], 2013, 15:00
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - DRDGold, South Africa's fifth-largest gold producer, reported an 11 percent rise in full-year earnings on Friday, boosted by a strong rand/gold price in the first half and higher production.

Headline earnings per share for the year rose seven cents to 68 South African cents. But earnings in the fourth quarter slumped sharply as bullion's spot price has come under pressure, squeezing South African gold operations.

The average gold price in the June 2013 quarter was 13 percent lower at $1,405 an ounce and the spot price and the rand/gold price was 8 percent down.

Impairments of 238 million rand were booked in the financial year with the bulk of the write downs stemming from its investment in Village Main Reef.

Production was up 8 percent for the year at 146,381 ounces but costs rose 14 percent as above-inflation increases in labour and electricity costs ate into margins.