Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum producer Zimplats reported a record $74 million loss for the full year on Monday after being hit by a hefty one-off tax repayment and falling global sales of the metal.
It was the only second time in the company’s history that it has reported an annual loss, the other being in 2009.
Zimplats, which is 87 percent owned by Impala Platinum Holdings, the world’s second-largest platinum producer, said it had to pay an additional $55.3 million in taxes during the year to June to cover the period 2004-2014, after losing a court case in a long-running dispute with the tax agency over payment of additional profits tax.
In addition, it said its revenue fell 29 percent to $408 million for the year after sales of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold declined 20 percent.
Platinum’s spot price XPT= is pinned near 6-1/2 year lows below $1,000 an ounce.
Zimplats said its production of platinum matte fell to 190,027 ounces, compared to 239,660 ounces in 2014, due to weaker demand.
Its full-year loss of $74 million after tax compared to a $97 million profit a year ago.
Zimbabwe ships its platinum matte for further processing at refineries in South Africa but President Robert Mugabe is pushing producers to set up local refineries.
Zimplats said it had started upgrading its mothballed base metals refinery to process platinum locally but would still send it to South Africa for the last stages of refining.