Anglo gets rid of the weight on its shoulders

Mining house Anglo American has sold the South African arm of steelmaker Scaw Metals for $440-million to an investment consortium in a long-awaited deal, bringing proceeds from its drive to divest non-core assets to $3.7-billion over two years.

The sale of Scaw South Africa, an integrated steelmaker which produces specialised components for mining, rail and other industrial sectors, was the last major element of a push to refocus Anglo on its core mining business.

Tuesday’s sale, to a group led by South Africa’s government-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and including a consortium of black economic empowerment (BEE) investors, virtually completes that 2009 divestment plan.

Anglo’s last significant outstanding deal is the exit from its Tarmac construction materials business through the joint venture between Tarmac UK and cement maker Lafarge, agreed in 2011 but currently on ice pending a decision from British regulators which could come as early as next week.

Stifling competition
Britain’s Competition Commission said in February that the joint venture between Anglo and Lafarge would damage competition in the market for construction materials but the companies have said the regulator’s worries can be “remedied”.

Anglo had sold Scaw Metals’ international business to Onesteel in December 2010 for $932-million.

The sale of Scaw South Africa, to the consortium which includes existing Scaw investors Izingwe Holdings, Shanduka Resources and the Southern Palace group of companies, brings the total proceeds from the Scaw Metals Group sale to $1.4-billion.

Analysts welcomed the deal as a positive one, with Liberum placing the total Scaw proceeds as equivalent to 6.6 times the 2010 core earnings, the last year of Scaw’s full contribution.

Anglo shares were up 0.5% at 2 307 pence, in line with the broader UK mining sector.

Other non-core assets sold over the past two years include Anglo’s zinc portfolio, sold to India-focused miner Vedanta, Tarmac’s European business and undeveloped Australian coal assets.—Reuters


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