Anglo American to proceed with large asset sale

An Anglo American mine in Rustenburg, South Africa (Source: AFP/Getty Images)
Anglo American, the London- based mining giant, is looking to sell off assets at a number of sites, including some of its oldest platinum mines in South Africa.

The sale comes as part of a strategic review of the company’s assets, led by chief executive Mark Cutifani.

The FTSE 100-listed mining giant, which also owns DeBeers diamond company, aims to sell off a range of operations that have not met the grade in terms of profitability, including some of its earliest historic deep shaft platinum mines in Rustenberg, South Africa.

RMB bank, which Anglo American has worked with in the past, is likely to be involved in organising the sale of some of its assets in South Africa.

The proposed disposals come soon after the apparent settlement of a labour dispute in South Africa involving a number of large mining companies, including Anglo American and Lonmin. A five-month strike, led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, came to an end last week, as Anglo American agreed to a three- year wage deal in return for a promise of no further strike action.

The asset sales are part of efforts to turn around performance at the mining company, which has been particularly hurt by declines in the price of platinum. However, operations in other regions have also been highlighted, with nickel assets in Brazil likely to face closure.

Mark Cutifani, who became CEO in April 2013, said last year that he considered performance at Anglo American to have been “unacceptably poor”. His aim is to improve capital returns to 15 per cent by 2016.

James Wyatt-Tilby, head of external communication at Anglo American, told City A.M. “We have been clear that a number of assets in the portfolio are unlikely to satisfy our stated return criteria and will be divested at the right time.”

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