Resona Corporate Partners: Mining giant plans more disposals after disastrous year as metals prices collapse.
Anglo American, the mining giant that saw its share price plunge by 75% last year, has revealed a fourth year of losses in the wake of collapsing metal prices and crippling debt service costs.
The London-based conglomerate with mines around the world producing diamonds to iron to coal and gold, lost $5.62 billion, more than double its losses in 2014. The reports caps a disastrous year for Anglo American and the mining industry in general with names from BHP Billiton to Glencore also struggling under huge debt burdens while coping with commodities’ prices that have plunged in the face of a slide in China’s appetite for raw materials.
Miners like Anglo American and others mistakenly bet that China’s appetite for raw materials would grow into perpetuity and, based on that assumption, borrowed heavily to increase the size of their operations.
“Unfortunately, bringing a mine up to full capacity can take several years and by the time some of these properties reached their full potential, the world’s largest consumer had begun scaling down,” explained Jurgen Sebring, a metals trader on Resona Corporate Partners proprietary trading team.
Anglo American vowed to cut the number of mines it owns, reduce staff numbers and cease paying its shareholder dividend. It also promised to cut debt to below $10 billion by the end of 2016.
Sebring noted, however, that a sense the worst is over for the long-suffering mining sector had driven Anglo American’s stock price higher by nearly 80% in recent weeks.
“We’re bullish on the mining sector and have raised our ratings on several large caps like Randgold, Glencore and Newmont. We see a lot of upside to raw materials this year and we expect miners to perform well,” said Yoshi Fujikawa, chief economist at Resona Corporate Partners.
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