S.Africa miner ARM says H1 earnings jump, helped by ferrous unit

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Diversified mining group African Rainbow Minerals reported a 66 percent rise in headline earnings on Friday as higher prices and a weaker rand boosted its ferrous unit.

The South African-based company also said a solid operational performance from its platinum arm contributed to its higher earnings.

Headline earnings per share for the six months to the end of December increased by two-thirds to 1,084 cents per share from 654 cents in the same period a year earlier.

Headline EPS, the benchmark profit measure in South Africa, excludes certain one-time items.

"ARM Ferrous headline earnings increased 108 percent, buoyed by higher dollar prices as well as a 19 percent weakening of the rand versus the dollar," the group said.

Domestic mining companies benefit from softness in the rand because their product is priced in dollars.

A damaged excavator and lower prices hit the group's coal unit, which recorded a headline loss of 34 million rand compared to a profit of 105 million rand in the same period in 2013.

The company said it would be funding exploration for a second year with a partner in northern Mozambique, where some of the world's largest untapped coal resources are found, and had identified occurrences of copper, zinc and nickel in the region.