Anglo American CEO resists asset sales as Q4 production falls

Duncan Wanblad, chief executive officer of Anglo American, speaks on…

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British mining major Anglo American’s CEO Duncan Wanblad has said the company will not sell off assets to appease investor pressure calling for action to address sliding share prices and dips in production.

“I’m not looking to get rid of it [any businesses]. I’m looking at how to optimise it and make it more resilient,” Wanblad told reporters on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town, South Africa on Monday. “You don’t shrink yourself to greatness in these companies.”

The remarks come after the CEO insisted in December that Anglo American “has no sacred cows” after the business suffered its worst drop in shares in 15 years.

Wanblad also warned that thousands of job cuts could be imminent in the company’s platinum group metals business, which is based in South Africa. This would follow a trend already seen from the country’s platinum producers, with its Minerals Council estimating that a sector-wide push to reduce headcounts could result in 4,000 to 7,000 job losses.

Anglo American’s shares have more than halved since Wanblad became boss in April 2022. Investors are calling for radical change as the business continues to nosedive. In December, the company announced significant cuts to its production forecast as a price collapse in the diamond and platinum markets hit producers.

On Thursday, the company posted a 7% drop in overall production output compared with the same period in 2022. Wanblad said in the results statement that the company is prioritising “value over volume”.

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By GlobalData

It has easily been the poorest performing stock of the major miners in the last few months, including BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale.

Issues at its Quellaveco copper project in Peru, which only began production in 2022, and spiralling costs at its $9bn Woodsmith polyhalite fertiliser mine project in the UK have impacted returns. At the end of December, Wanblad announced that Anglo American will sell a 49% stake in the Woodsmith project as it looks to share the burden of costs.

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