How many of the companies you own have roughly doubled in 2008? None? You must not be on board the Stillwater Mining
Judging by 2007's results, Stillwater wouldn't exactly look like a natural candidate for market darling du jour. The precious-metals miner reported a $14 million loss for the year, on essentially flat revenue. The company experienced high turnover and a weeklong strike at its namesake Montana mine, both of which cut into production. To top it off, a hedge book capped the firm's gains from rollicking prices of its mined metals.
Oh, but those glorious platinum group metals (platinum, palladium, and rhodium) are also the key to this company's share-price surge. The reason for platinum's pop is rather distinct from the recent move in gold and silver, given its extremely concentrated production profile: Nearly 80% of the stuff is mined in South Africa.
The South African power crisis, dubbed as such by Gold Fields
This leaves homegrown Stillwater, which is going into 2008 with a minimal amount of hedges remaining on its platinum output. Although the company is predicting a roughly 10% rise in per-ounce cash costs, its margins ought to be magnificent. While training a young labor force is no enviable task, Stillwater simply finds itself in the right place at the right time.
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Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a thing for bling, nor does he have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.