A clump of iron ore from a mine. Picture: REUTERS
A clump of iron ore from a mine. Picture: REUTERS

Assore, a tightly held company, reported record full-year dividends and a strong increase in cash holdings.

Assore, which is the equal partner in Assmang with African Rainbow Minerals, reported profit for the year to end-June of R5.175bn, up from R5.138bn.

It declared a final dividend of R12 per share, bringing its total return to shareholders to R22 for the year, the highest dividend it has paid. In the 2017 financial year, the total dividend was R14 per share.

Revenue grew to R7.8bn from R7.2bn, but increased cost of sales meant gross profit of R1.5bn was below the R1.7bn earned a year earlier.

Assore jointly mines iron ore and manganese with African Rainbow Minerals. It has a chrome business and a marketing arm.

Assore’s pre-tax profit of R2.3bn was lower than the previous year’s R2.5bn. However, with the inclusion of its R3.5bn share of the joint venture’s post-tax profit, it pushed the group to a total profit of R5.175bn for the year. The joint venture’s profit in the previous year was R3.27bn.

Assmang, the joint venture, recorded an 8% increase in attributable earnings of R7.1bn, with manganese ore and alloys posting a 71% increase to R3.8bn, offsetting a 25% fall in iron ore to R3.3bn.

Assore reported cash of R8.4bn on its balance sheet at the end of June, up from R5.6bn the previous year.