Mining giant Anglo American said Tuesday that its net loss doubled to $5.62 billion in 2015, after the company faced impairment charges of $3.8 billion due a massive rout in commodity prices. In a statement, Anglo American said that it plans to sell assets worth $3 billion to $4 billion to repair its battered finances and to increase earnings before interest and tax by $1.9 billion in 2016.
The company lost $5.5 billion before tax in 2015, compared with $259 million in 2014. Underlying profit before interest and tax came in at $2.2 billion, from $4.9 billion last year — a drop of 55 percent.
“We are targeting net debt of less than $10 billion in 2016, assuming current commodity prices and exchange rates,” Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said, in a statement. “In the medium term, we are targeting net debt of $6 billion, supporting a return to a solid investment grade credit rating.”
Mining companies across the world, including Anglo American’s rivals Glencore and Rio Tinto, have been hit hard by cooling global demand and a slowdown in Chinese economy. On Monday, ratings agency Moody's downgraded Anglo American's credit rating further into junk territory, saying that “the current environment is not a normal cyclical downturn, but a fundamental shift in the operating environment for the global mining sector.”
In order to preserve cash and offset its losses, Anglo American promised to reduce the number of mines it currently owns, exit iron ore and coal production, and suspend dividend payouts to shareholders. The company has also initiated a review of South Africa’s Kumba iron ore mine, and will consider options to exit the business “at the appropriate time, including a potential spin-out.”
“We of course recognize the current challenging environment in which to deliver disposals. We are already engaged with parties interested in several of our assets, but we will only complete those transactions which deliver appropriate value for our investors,” Cutifani said. “So, while we have accelerated our disposal processes, and given our targeted positive free cash flow and our robust liquidity position, we will take appropriate time to secure value outcomes from the disposal program.”
London-listed shares of Anglo American, which opened up 6 percent, were trading down 8.15 percent at 5:10 a.m. EST, even as the London Stock Exchange remained flat during early trade Tuesday.