South African diversifed miner Exxaro (EXXJ.J: Quote) expects to report a more than 100 percent rise in headline earnings per share for 2008, boosted mainly by higher sales and prices at its coal unit.

Exxaro, South Africa's biggest black-owned mining group and the main supplier of coal to state-owned utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL], said it expects to report headline EPS of between 1,045-1,060 cents, up from 425 cents the previous year. Headline EPS is the main profit gauge in South Africa and strips out certain one-off, financial and non-trading items.

The company said its coal business would report a substantial improvement in net operating profit, boosted by higher sales at improved average prices.

The mineral sands business will report a consolidated net operating profit, aided by a first contribution from Namakwa Sands which Exxaro bought from Anglo American (AAL.L: Quote) in October last year.

Exxaro said its base metals unit will report a net operating loss, owing to significantly lower average zinc prices.

Shares in Exxaro were down 2.1 percent at 69 rand by 1445 GMT.

Exxaro said it would issue its results on February 24.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak)

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