Assore is not the highest dividend-yielding share on the JSE, or even in the top 10. But thanks to the owners’ large share in the business, it is a generally reliable dividend payer, which should attract investors who know little about its core steelmaking commodities of iron, chrome and manganese ore.

Assore is in a 50:50 mining and processing joint venture called Assmang with African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) in iron ore and manganese. It also owns 100% of the Dwarsrivier chrome mine after buying out ARM’s stake last year, just as chrome ore prices took off. After iron ore, Assore’s most profitable business last year was the marketing and shipping of Assmang products through Ore & Metal Company.

The dividend for the six months to December was 600c/share. Second-half dividends have always been at least the same and usually higher than the first half. If Assore declares at least 600c for the second half of this financial year, making R12 for the 2017 financial year to June, its forward dividend yield rises to 6% from its historical 5.56%. There’s no reason to believe the final dividend will be lower, even though the prices of its commodities have mostly come off their recent peaks. Capital gains on Assore shares are more elusive. At R197.59 the price is 10% higher than a year ago, but on a five-year view there’s a 24% capital loss. On a total return basis, taking into account R34.50 of dividends declared in the past five years, the loss is 10.5%. In the second half of last year and into the beginning of this year Assore benefited from surging prices of iron ore, chrome and manganese, responding to growth in steel production in China coupled with supply bottlenecks. Chrome and...

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