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On the rebound

Aug 12 2010 00:00 Brendan Ryan
ANGLO AMERICAN’S share price is on the rebound following the release of the interim results to end-June. Main reason appears to be investor enthusiasm for the far-better-than-expected interim dividend of US$0,25. This payout has overcome the unease about the ballooning capital costs of Anglo’s key Minas Rio iron ore project in Brazil, which is now expected to cost around $4,5bn compared with the initial estimate of $2,7bn.

The interim payout also reflects increased management and board confidence about prospects following the operating and financial turnarounds achieved at subsidiaries Anglo Platinum and De Beers. Particularly pleasing was the news Anglo Platinum has finally been granted conversion of its old order mining rights more than two years after Anglo CEO Cynthia Carroll declared the situation sorted, bar a couple of technicalities.

Anglo doubled operating profits for the six months to $4bn, and Carroll is sounding gung-ho about short- to medium-term growth prospects from the group’s next three projects that are about to kick in. Those are the Barro Alto nickel project in Brazil, the Los Bronces copper development in Chile and the Kolomela (formerly Sishen South) iron ore mine in South Africa.

Carroll says these projects “are well placed on their respective industry cost curves, have long resource lives and are set to enter production from early 2011 onwards in what’s expected to be a growing commodity demand environment”.

Anglo’s price has bounced back from R274 on 20 July to around R303 currently and appears on its way back to its 12-month high of R350/share. This prospect could, of course, be derailed if market jitters over a “double dip” in the global economy turn out to be correct.

Carroll acknowledges the uncertainty but remains confident about the medium- to long-term outlook for the key commodities Anglo produces. I’m going to vote with the optimists and rate Anglo a buy at this point.
 
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