Sibanye-Stillwater delayed R550m of capital expenditure at its South African gold and platinum operations because of the strong rand eroding profit margins, while its US platinum group metal (PGM) business underscored the benefits of the company’s strategy of geographical diversification. A win for the group, which has mines in SA, Zimbabwe and the US, was the reduction in its debt metrics and compliance with its debt covenants, something that is under scrutiny by investors and analysts after the company loaded itself with R23bn of debt to fund the $2.2bn cash purchase of Stillwater Mining in the US last year. Sibanye’s debt covenant metric — a ratio of net debt to adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) — fell to 2.4 times by the end of March from 2.6 times at the end of December. The US palladium and platinum operations made up 60% of the company’s adjusted ebitda. The debt covenants stipulate the ratio may not surpass 3.5 times in the short ...

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