South Africa’s Harmony Gold has reported a net profit of R2.9bn for the year ended 30 June and issued its first dividend in five years.

The latest year’s profit compares to a net loss of R245m in 2008.

Although output rose 1% in the quarter earnings fell 13% because of the stronger rand, Reuters report.

Each of Harmony’s operations, with the exception of Tshepong, Virginia, Kalgold and Evander, recorded production improvements.

But the company said throughput and grade were disappointing in the last year and will be addressed in the company’s financial planning for the financial year for 2010, the company said.

In addition, Harmony said its Doornkop and Elandstrand operations have not met their targets and will not reach full production to 2013.

Production costs increased by R683m from 2008 levels because of the increase in salaries and electricity tariffs, Harmony said.