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Precious metal producer Anglo American Platinum reported it swung to a profit last year and said it had sold its stake in a South African mine for as much as $490m.

The company, known as Amplats, said it had sold its 85 per cent stake in its Union mine to Siyanda Resources for 400m rand with deferred payment tied to future cash flows of up to 6.4bn rand.

The Johannesburg-based company, which is owned by London-listed miner Anglo American, reported headline earnings, excluding one-time items, of 1.9bn rand in 2016 from a loss of 126m rand a year earlier.

Prices for platinum, which is used in catalytic converters for diesel cars and jewellery, has dropped over 50 per cent since 2008. Market conditions during 2016 remained “weak,” Amplats said, with the average price per platinum ounce down 8 per cent to $1,753.

“The business has made significant strides in the last twelve months, despite the continued weak price environment for platinum group metals,” Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith said.

“Ongoing operational improvements, progress with divestments and a further reduction in net debt are ensuring that we build a resilient business and position the company for the future. The challenging global macroeconomic outlook is likely to prevail through at least 2017.”

Shares in Amplats were down 2.14 per cent on the Johannesburg stock exchange.

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