July 2, 2012 / 8:51 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Amplats warns on lower first-half earnings

* Anglo American Platinum hit by lower sales, prices

* Sees earnings fall at more than 20 per cent

JOHANNESBURG, July 2 (Reuters) - Anglo American Platinum , the world’s top platinum producer, warned on Monday its first-half earnings would fall more than 20 percent, hit by lower sales and falling prices.

South Africa’s platinum sector is battling the impact of weak demand, soaring costs and a government safety drive that has cut production as operations are suspended for safety violations.

“In view of volatility in exchange rates and metal prices, Anglo American Platinum cannot, with reasonable certainty, quantify the extent of the decrease in expected earnings other than that the decrease is expected to be more than 20 percent,” the miner said.

Amplats, a unit of global miner Anglo American, said a further trading statement would be issued to provide earnings forecast ranges for earnings per share.

Shares in Amplats fell more than 2.5 percent on the news of weaker profits, while other platinum producers including Impala Platinum were also dragged lower.

Anglo American is undertaking an operational review of Amplats, which it is expected to conclude later this year. Analysts expect the review to outline the planned closure of some higher cost deep shafts, signal some potential sales or exits from some joint ventures with rivals, and focus its spending.

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