Anglo American plunges into $1.5bn net loss in 2012

Outgoing Anglo American chief executive Cynthia Carroll. (Aly Song, Reuters)

Outgoing Anglo American chief executive Cynthia Carroll. (Aly Song, Reuters)

The loss after taxation compared with a net profit of $6.17-billion in 2011, Anglo said in a results statement on Friday.

That was Anglo American's first net loss in more than a decade as the London-listed miner was also hurt by a sharp fall in global commodity prices.

The dire news comes one day after its Anglo-Australian rival Rio Tinto posted a 2012 net loss of $2.99-billion due to hefty writedowns on its Mozambique coal and aluminium businesses.

That marked Rio's first net loss since becoming a dual-listed company in 1995 and was also due to a dip in commodity markets.

Anglo added on Friday that its operational profit, stripping out exceptional items such as the impairment charge, dived 44% to $6.16-billion. That was broadly in line with analysts' expectations. Group sales meanwhile fell 5.9% to $28.8-billion.

And the company also hiked its full-year shareholder dividend by 15% to $0.53 per share, citing confidence in the underlying business.

'Underlying operating profit'
"As a result of markedly weaker commodity prices, ongoing cost pressures and an operating loss in our platinum business, Anglo American reported an underlying operating profit of $6.2-billion, a 44% decrease," said outgoing Anglo chief executive Cynthia Carroll.

Anglo had already revealed late last month that it would take a $4-billion hit on the value of its Minas-Rio iron-ore mining project in Brazil owing to delays that have sent costs soaring.

"We recorded impairments totalling $4.6-billion [post-tax] in relation to Minas-Rio and a number of platinum projects that are uneconomical, which is disappointing," added Carroll.

"In platinum, we completed our review in January 2013 and have put forward proposals to create a sustainable, competitive and profitable platinum business.

"We, of course, regret the potential impact on jobs and communities and have designed an extensive social plan to more than offset any such impact." – AFP

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