Anglo American kicks off coal assets sale — report

Anglo American kicks off coal assets sale — reportGrosvenor coal mine. (Image courtesy of Anglo American.)

Anglo American (LSE: AAL) is said to have formally kicked off a process to divest its coal assets, enlisting the services of three top banks as part of a broader plan to offload some of its legacy assets.

The idea to sell its steelmaking coal assets, which analysts value at as much as US$5 billion, is part of a sweeping restructuring program born as a result of a botched takeover attempt by larger rival BHP (NYSE: BHP; LSE: BHP; ASX: BHP).

Chief executive Duncan Wanblad said in May it was too soon to start selling the company’s five operating coal mines, development projects and joint ventures in Australia. An explosion and subsequent fire at Anglo’s Grosvenor coal mine in Queensland seems to have made Wanblad change his mind, though assessing the damage and reopen the mine is expected to take several months.

Anglo American has, in the meantime, hired Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Centerview Partners, all of whom were previously involved as brokers for the company, to assist in the sale of the assets, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Besides its coal business, Anglo is also working on a strategy to separate its controlling interest in Anglo American Platinum (JSE: AMS) and in diamond giant De Beers. Analysts believe that Anglo American would be better off by waiting to sell its stake in De Beers until there is a rebound in the diamond market.

It is said the company’s perspective is that De Beers should be priced in a way that reflects its status as a heirloom asset.

Anglo American refrained from providing on-the-record comments for this article.

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