South African mining firm reports safety improvements

26 March 2012

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26 March 2012 | Angeline Albert

South African construction and engineering group Basil Read said work by procurement staff has helped to ensure the company’s risk management activities have improved.   

According to its financial results for the year ended December 2011, out today, the company has integrated a “robust” health and safety management system across the group despite a period of rapid acquisition. The procurement function ensured the new risk management system, which includes third party auditing results, was incorporated into the safety, health and environment division. It also made sure it is aligned with its governance processes across the group to reinforce its commitment to an integrated approach focused on zero harm.
The company said that in the past three years, its injury rate has dropped from 0.58 in 2009 to 0.4 in 2011.

Basil Read said in its financial results that while the economic recovery would be exacerbated by the slowdown in infrastructure projects in South Africa, the group’s strong relationships with clients, suppliers and subcontractors would enable it to manage these conditions effectively, as well as its strong order book. The group reported revenue of R6.2 billion (£510 million). In 2010 it was R5.4 billion £444 million), showing an increase of 15.6 per cent.

The company said in a statement: “Basil Read has withstood another year of difficult trading conditions and global economic volatility, returning a satisfactory set of results for the period to 31 December 2011 and, overall, faring relatively well.”

It said delayed payment from African governments put pressure on cash flow, but said it was working closely with these clients to resolve issues.

Basil Read is now exploring niche markets outside South Africa with long-term prospects in infrastructural spending in other parts of southern Africa. It has secured contracts in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and has offices established in Mozambique and Zambia.

The group ended the year with its strongest order book in nearly six decades, at a level of R12.5 billion (£1 billion), and secured several major contracts during the year.

Rising commodity prices have boosted mining production significantly in the past year, resulting in many goods contracts. Demand was outstripping supply in most commodities and the mining industry is expected to remain buoyant through 2012, the board said.

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