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In stark contrast to two of its major peers, Anglo American Platinum has a solid balance sheet, allowing it to pay an interim dividend of R1bn — the first since 2011 — and buy Glencore’s stake in a strategically important mine for an upfront payment of R800m cash. Impala Platinum and Lonmin, the second and third largest platinum producers respectively, are in far worse shape, facing mine closures, the dismissal of thousands of workers, and in the case of Lonmin, hoping for a successful takeover bid by Sibanye-Stillwater to stave off a breach of debt covenants that could destroy the company. The world’s largest platinum producer has swung to an interim net cash position after selling or closing deep-level mines and unprofitable assets, reducing its portfolio to seven mines from 18 and cutting its workforce by 60% in five years, mainly through disposals. Amplats, which is 80% owned by Anglo American, returned R1bn to shareholders, declaring a R3.74 per share interim dividend after swi...

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