Anglo American trims down; sells zinc assets to Vedanta

Anglo American (AAL-L, AAUK-Q) is selling zinc assets in Namibia, Ireland and South Africa to  Vedanta Resources (VED-L) for US$1.34 billion after its net profits took a beating in 2009.

The company said it would focus on its core commodity businesses where it “holds advantaged positions” after its net profit halved to US$2.4 billion in 2009 from US$5.2 billion in 2008, and it had to fight off a hostile takeover bid from Swiss miner Xstrata (XTA-L, XSRAF-O).

In late February Anglo American also said it was selling Tarmac’s construction aggregates businesses in France, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic to Eurovia, a subsidiary of the Vinci Group, for about US$400 million.

Of the US$1.34 billion sale, US$698 million relates to its Skorpion mine in Namibia, US$308 million relates to the Lisheen mine Ireland, and US$332 million relates to the company’s 74% interest in Black Mountain Mining in South Africa, which owns 100% of the Black Mountain mine and the Gamsberg project.

Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta, said the company plans to “rapidly develop Gamsberg, one of the largest high-quality zinc projects in the world.”

In February when Anglo American announced its 2009 financial results it noted that it had US$17 billion of approved projects and forecast production growth by 2013 to rise by 33% for copper; 82% for iron ore and 139% for nickel.

It also stated that development work was on track at its four key strategic projects: Minas Rio, Los Bronces, Barro Alto and Kolomela (previously Shishen South). The company noted that it expects first-stage approvals in 2010 for its new growth projects: Quellaveco (copper) and Grosvenor (metallurgical coal).

Anglo American also has a 45% stake in De Beers.



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