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Anglo American plc Message Board

  • larry12110 larry12110 Oct 24, 2009 7:37 PM Flag

    AAUK in WSJ

    Two and a half years after becoming chief executive of Anglo American, Cynthia Carroll has at last sunk her teeth into the job.

    Plans announced Thursday involve clearing out 2,700 senior managers and support staff from head offices and putting more noncore assets on the block.

    These could be major steps toward remaking Anglo in the image of rivals like BHP Billiton and former suitor Xstrata.

    But it should be only a start.


    Bloomberg News

    Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll in September.
    Long criticized for its top-heavy management, Anglo should prove more nimble by devolving full responsibility for meeting financial targets to managers of its platinum, copper, nickel, coal and iron-ore operations in the countries in which they are based.

    The managers will report directly to Ms. Carroll.

    The cost savings, at $120 million a year, aren't to be sniffed at.

    Putting up for sale Anglo's short-life zinc mines plus its remaining nonmining assets -- ranging from fertilizers to building materials -- also should unlock value.

    Investors have attributed little or no value to the businesses, contributing to Anglo's typical 20% to 30% discount to analysts' sum-of-the-parts valuations.

    Anglo should raise a few billion dollars from the disposals, allowing it to pay down debt of $11 billion.

    This reorganization clearly reflects pressure from new Chairman John Parker, in response to Xstrata's now-withdrawn takeover approach.

    Ms. Carroll has been forced to let some of her trustiest lieutenants go. The fate of executives that remain will depend on whether they deliver on cost savings and execute Anglo's big South American development projects.

    That still leaves a lot of work to be done.

    But at least Anglo is now moving in the right direction as the commodities cycle turns up

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