Master Drilling reports 86.5% increase in profit

Johannesburg, South Africa. 27 August 2013. Master Drilling Group Limited (Master Drilling; JSE: MDI), specialised drilling services provider which listed on the JSE Limited (JSE) on 20 December last year, has announced an 86.5% increase in profit to R71.2 million and an 87.3% increase in headline earnings per share (HEPS) to 47.2 South African cents for the six months ended 30 June 2013. As at 30 June 2013, the Company had committed orders totalling more than R2 billion.

During the period under review, Master Drilling began its five-year exploration drilling contract at Kumba Iron Ore’s Kolomela operation where it offers a “one-stop shop” solution, including reverse-circulation drilling, pilot drilling and grade control. In addition, work began in two new regions – Mali and Guatemala. In May 2013, drilling activities began in Peru using the first fully automated raiseboring machines.

The Company has allocated R190 million of capital expenditure to the purchase of machines in 2013 – a portion of this will fund its automation drive. The equipment is central to Master Drilling’s expansion programme that will see it grow its geographical footprint into uncharted territories.

“We have identified speed, quality, service, flexibility and safety as essential to successfully compete in the market,’’ says CEO Danie Pretorius. “Innovation is mandatory for the long-term survival of any drilling company. We are motivated to become even more innovative in order to increase productivity.”

Development of the next phases of Master Drilling’s automation process is now underway, using in-house technology, with a view to implementation of fully automated insertion and removal of drill rods and automatic remote-controlled spanners, among others, by year-end.

“The efficiency of raiseboring is expected to be 30% higher while productivity, based on results from the group’s first live automated project in South America during 2013, could potentially double as mechanisation and automation advance,” Pretorius points out.

Master Drilling’s strategy is to develop and grow its current position as a leading global specialised drilling company through continued expansion of its services; by strengthening and consolidating its position in existing markets; through focused organic growth; and through joint ventures and partnerships.


Russell and Associates
Edith Leeson/James Duncan
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