South Africa's Northam Platinum Ltd (NHMJ.J) boosted first half output but said earnings per share fell 43 percent to 113.5 cents and forecast lower second half profit given weak commodity prices.

The company said in a statement revenue in the six months to end December increased by 7.7 percent to 1.612 billion rand ($160.8 million) on the back of an improved operating performance at the Northam mine.

A 21 percent weakening of the rand against the U.S. dollar during the period helped offset a 14.3 percent decline in the average U.S. dollar price received for Northam's basket of metals at $1,197 per ounce, it said.

Northam said production of metals in concentrates at its Northam mine during the period increased by 10.7 percent to 5,193 kg or 166,952 ounces.

Production of metals in concentrate was expected to be marginally lower in the second half and sales of platinum group metals would be in line with the first half.

Northam expects second-half earnings to be commensurately lower than the first half, but said it was cash positive at an operating level, had no debt and should be able to develop the Booysendal mine from a combination of internal retentions and medium-term loan finance.

Impala Platinum (IMPJ.J) said last month it would not proceed with a 22 billion rand ($2.17 billion) cash-and-shares deal to buy rivals Mvelaphanda Resources and its unit Northam Platinum, owing to the global economic climate. (Reporting by Rebecca Harrison)© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved