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Are shares in this AIM-listed platinum metals company too good to be true?

Michael Baxter
Businessman scratching his head on white background

Without context, the words read like a list of excuses. Add context, and a remarkable tale is revealed. I refer to Sylvania Platinum (LSE: SLP), its results from a few months back, and comments by its chair, Stuart Murray, at that time. 

Murray likened the company’s performance in the 12-months to the end of June last year to the “curate’s egg – good in some parts, not ideal in others.” He lamented water shortages causing downtime at some operations and even described the first six months of that period as having “rocky” production challenges. After reading those words in isolation, a shareholder who didn’t know better might have braced themselves for bad news. In fact the results for last year, published last September, were very impressive.

The results for the company’s second quarter are imminent. I think they are worth watching very carefully because I reckon that Sylvania’s shares are looking extremely tempting. More good news in the forthcoming results and the shares will be hard to resist.

Growth, despite challenges

Last year, net profits at Sylvania Platinum increased 66%, The South African company finished the year with $21.8m in the bank with no debt, its sixth consecutive year of record production, and a nice dividend payment for the year of 0.78 pence a share, which meant a yield of around 1.6%.

If the company can grow like that while facing so many challenges, as Murray described, I’m wondering how it might perform under more positive circumstances — when things are good in most parts.

As for the last set of quarterly results, issued three months ago, they showed a 54% increase in revenue and a 106% increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA).

No wonder shares have been rising so rapidly of late — having doubled over the last year and increased six-fold over the last five years. (Although shares are still below their IPO price from 2011).

All this is very impressive, yet Sylvania’s valuation of £119m compared to group net profit in its last full year of $18.2m, or around £14m, seems remarkably modest for a growing, dividend-paying company with no debts.

Is it too good to be true?

I don’t think it is too good to be true. Instead, I would say that Sylvania Platinum is truly good.

What is especially compelling, about Sylvania Platinum is the minerals it specialises in — platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Both palladium and rhodium have applications in catalytic converters, cutting carbon emissions. In other words, Sylvania specialises in producing minerals that play a key role in the fight against climate change.

I expect a lot of market interest in Sylvania Platinum shares when the next set of quarterly results are out, but whatever the results say, I think that from an investor’s point of view, this company’s underlying story is exciting and it has lots of growth potential, both in dividends and share price.

The post Are shares in this AIM-listed platinum metals company too good to be true? appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

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Michael Baxter has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Motley Fool UK 2020