Pravin’s sacking saved us, says ex-Lonmin finance chief

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Pravin’s sacking saved us, says ex-Lonmin finance chief

Had Zuma not fired Gordhan, sending the rand sharply weaker, the firm would have breached its debt covenants

Allan Seccombe

It was the extraordinary decision in March 2017 by then-president Jacob Zuma to fire finance minister Pravin Gordhan that saved Lonmin from an ignominious end and opened the way for a more dignified and considered exit as a listed platinum company.

Lonmin, then the world’s third-largest platinum miner, was operating under the constraints of debt covenants as it lurched from crisis to crisis brought on by legacy decisions around strategy, the mishandling of labour matters that ultimately led to the Marikana massacre in 2012 and increasingly desperate and unpopular calls on its shareholders to prop up the business.

As the company’s lenders were to assess the debt covenants in Lonmin, which was in breach of those contracts, Zuma fired Gordhan, sending the rand sharply weaker...

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