Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

Coal of Africa Ltd (CoAL) narrowed its interim loss but, without any operating assets, has struck a number of deals to secure cash as its key projects remain trapped behind regulatory and legal obstacles.

CoAL reported a $12.97m loss for the six months to end-December compared with a $14.3m loss the year before, with one of the reasons behind the loss being a $10.6m impairment of its agreement to move coal through the Maputo harbour.

CoAL spent more than $12m during the period, with its cash holdings falling to $7m from $19.5m at the end of June last year.

CoAL showed current assets of $23.9m, including $15.6m arising from assets held for sale, with the company putting its suspended thermal coal mine near Secunda up for sale. The company’s total current liabilities stood at $26.7m

Excluding the assets held for sale, CoAL had a net current liability of $15.9m at the end of December, with fthe majority of that amount, $10.3m due to be paid to Rio Tinto in monthly tranches.

CoAL’s directors had prepared a cash flow forecast to June 2018, which included a $10m loan from Yishun Brightrise Investment converted to equity, which happened in February this year, giving Yishun a 19.3% stake in CoAL.

Shares were issued to existing shareholder M&G Investment Management to raise $2m for working capital and CoAL has agreed a further injection of $10m into the company from an "external party" via a rights issue that must be approved of by shareholders.

CoAL has received funding commitments for $18m. The sale of the Mooiplaats colliery and Holfontein thermal coal project should be completed in 2017.

"The directors believe that at the date of signing the financial statements there are reasonable grounds to believe that they will be successful in achieving the matters set out ... and that the consolidated entity will have sufficient funds to meet its obligations as and when they fall due, and are of the opinion that the use of the going concern basis remains appropriate," it said.

The Vele colliery, a coking and thermal coal mine in Limpopo, remained on care and maintenance as the company sought an integrated water use licence to divert a stream.

The Makhado coking coal project is locked in a court battle after an interim interdict was issued against CoAL in 2014 to stop construction at the project, which would deliver 2.3-million tonnes a year of hard coking coal and 3.2-million tonnes of thermal coal a year over 16 years.

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