This week, Anglo American announced a more radical and aggressive effort to restructure the entire organization. The goal is to have a leaner organization supported by “Priority One” assets, a term the company assigned to assets that have the ability to generate cash flow and returns through the downside of the cycle. To accomplish the goal, Anglo now plans to downsize its portfolio beyond its previously advised targets to a company 40% the size of today’s Anglo American.
In July, Anglo American said it wanted to reduce the size of the company from 162,000 workers to 100,000, noting that not all of the jobs would disappear. The jobs would move off the payroll as mines were sold. Now the company is saying that they would like to reduce payroll from 135,000 to 50,000. Since July, the company has announced the sale of its Rustenberg platinum operations (Amplats) in Africa and two large copper mines in Chile.
As Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani said negative cash flow assets will either be closed, placed on care and maintenance or sold, but at the same time, there will be no fire sales. “For us, 2016 represents a year of significant and radical change from where we’ve been,” Cutifani said.
“Compared to where we were 12 months ago when we talked about 70 assets, we are now down to 55. Our target restructuring was to get down to 36. In looking at the portfolio and thinking carefully about capital allocation in the environment that we see, we believe that it is right to continue to focus on those priority assets.”
The company will consolidate its operations from six divisions to three: diamonds, industrial metals (platinum, base metals, etc.) and bulk commodities (coal, iron ore, etc.). It is now targeting $4 billion in assets sales as opposed to the $3 billion announced earlier this summer. The Snap Lake diamond mine in Canada will be placed on care and maintenance. Anglo is making further cuts to its capital budget and suspending its dividend. The company has already closed a dozen regional offices in last 12 months. And, these changes extend all the way to the top as the London head office will move in with De Beers in 2017 as part of the overhead rationalization.