Anglo American share price rises as it resumes its dividend payment six months early

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Anglo American has benefited from the rise in commodity prices (Source: Getty)

Mining giant Anglo American resumed dividend payments six months ahead of schedule as it reduced net debt by 27 per cent in the six months to the end of June.

Anglo announced its dividend payment for the first half would be 48 cents per share, equal to 40 per cent of first half underlying earnings.

Shares rose 4.15 per cent to 1,244.5p in afternoon trading.

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"The benefits of our relentless focus on driving efficiency through the operations and on upgrading the quality of our portfolio have resulted in a step-change in operational performance and profitability," said Mark Cutifani, chief executive of the miner.

Cutifani said the company posted a profit attributable to shareholders of $1.4bn compared with a loss of $813m in the previous half-year as a result of "extensive self-help work" and tightly controlled capital expenditure while commodity prices strengthened.

Net debt was reduced to $6.2bn ahead of a target to cut debt to $7bn by the end of the year, driven by $2.7bn in free cash flow.

The miner scrapped its dividend in late 2015 to conserve cash during a commodities rout, but now metals prices are back on the rise.

Anglo announced in February that it would resume dividend payments by the end of 2017 as it returned to profit.

Going forward, the board is targeting a dividend policy of 40 per cent of underlying earnings.

"Looking forward, our focus will continue to be on improving operational performance and converting production and improving costs into consistent cash flow generation, while maintaining strict capital allocation discipline," Cutifani said.

"We are now in a position to consider value accretive growth options and capital returns from within our substantial undeveloped mineral endowment."

Read more: Anglo American lifts iron ore guidance on the back of strong results

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