Anglo American raised its dividend and cut debt even further as the company that was pushed to the brink by falling metals prices roars back to life.
The company will pay a dividend of $1.02 a share for the full year. Earnings jumped 48% in 2017 amid a surge in commodity prices and after a drastic cost-cutting program. Anglo joins rivals Rio Tinto Group and Glencore in returning cash to shareholders and reducing borrowings. It marks a stark turnaround from just two years ago, when the heavily indebted company faced an existential crisis as metals prices plunged. “While we have already driven a material operational turnaround, we believe there is significant additional upside within the business both through further operating gains and from selected organic growth options,” said Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani. Debt fell to $4.5 billion by the end of 2017, compared with the $7 billion target set at the start of the year. Underlying earnings were $2.57 a share, just missing the $2.60 average estimate complied by Bloomberg. Anglo said will target an extra $3 billion to $4 billion in savings by 2022 through cost reductions and better productivity.
The century-old mining company has reversed its fortunes after it was forced to scrap its dividend two years ago and put many of its mines up for sale. Now, it’s starting to talk about growth again with the possibility of expanding projects that include the world’s biggest diamond and platinum operations. The company last year surprised the market by reinstating the interim dividend. -Bloomberg