Anglo American Confirms It Is Looking to Sell De Beers

SourcingMay 20, 2024

Anglo American Confirms It Is Looking to Sell De Beers

The mining giant also wants to offload its platinum business as part of an overhaul designed to “unlock significant value.”

Rough diamonds from De Beers
Anglo American plc confirmed Tuesday that diamond mining company De Beers will be “divested or demerged” as part of a broader restructuring designed to simplify its portfolio.
Editor’s note: This story was updated post-publication to include a statement from Platinum Guild International. 

London—Anglo American is looking to offload both De Beers Group and its platinum business as part of a proposed restructuring that would streamline the company and position it as a major player in the “green” energy future.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the London-based mining giant outlined a plan that involves divesting or demerging De Beers in order to “improve strategic flexibility for both De Beers and Anglo American.”

De Beers followed up shortly with its own statement in which CEO Al Cook said he is “confident” the company will remain the diamond leader “for the next century.”

He said: “Today’s announcement from Anglo American opens up new possibilities under new ownership. But some things will not change. We will continue to deliver value for all our stakeholders, including our partners in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Canada, Angola, and other countries.

“In particular, we look forward to finalizing our transformational agreement with the Government of the Republic of Botswana, who hold a 15 percent ownership interest in De Beers.” 

He said De Beers will unveil a new strategy later this month.  

“Diamonds remain some of the most desired products around the world, and I am excited by the opportunity we have to bring their magic to a new generation,” Cook said. 

“With the ongoing recovery in rough diamond demand, and such a positive outlook for the sector, I feel very confident in our future.”

De Beers is one of four businesses Anglo is looking to sell off as it focuses on copper—a key element for renewable energy infrastructure and electric vehicles—and premium iron ore, which is used in steel decarbonization.

Also listed for divestment were the company’s steelmaking coal, nickel, and Anglo American Platinum Ltd. businesses.

Under the proposed plan, Anglo American Platinum is to “be demerged in a responsible and orderly way to optimize value for both Anglo American’s and Anglo American Platinum’s shareholders.”

In a statement shared with National Jeweler, the Platinum Guild International (PGI) said while it cannot comment on any corporate decisions Anglo American or Anglo American Platinum make, it remains focused on its strategy—creating incremental value for platinum.

In May 2023, Anglo American Platinum became the sole sponsor of PGI USA and PGI Japan. It has been the sole source of funding for PGI India since 2016, while PGI China remains funded by a consortium of South African platinum producers.

PGI said it expects market development to remain a key focus of the platinum mining industry, with jewelry, which represents a third of global platinum demand, playing a strategic role in it.

Tim Schlick, the new CEO of PGI, said: “Our strategy is clear and simple: create ounces and value for our sponsors and partners that otherwise would not exist. This stays front and center and I believe is a highly compelling value proposition to the industry.”

 Related stories will be right here … 

Anglo American Chief Executive Duncan Wanblad said the proposed restructuring would bring about the most radical set of changes the company has undergone in a decade but believes they are the right decisions to position Anglo for the future.

“Of course, we are conscious of the impacts of making such far-reaching changes, particularly on our employees. We see considerable opportunities for our employees, both in delivering the full potential of Anglo American and in the businesses that we will be divesting or demerging, all of which are high- quality businesses in their own right,” he said.

Anglo American announced its restructuring plan one day after it confirmed it had received a second unsolicited, non-binding takeover bid from BHP Group Ltd. on May 7. 

Like the previous BHP offer that Anglo American rejected on April 26, this latest proposal is an all-share offer that calls for Anglo American to offload both Anglo American Platinum and Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. to its shareholders. 

Though the May 7 bid is 10 percent higher, $43 billion vs. the $39 billion offered in April, Anglo said it still undervalues the company and its future prospects.

It also still has “significant execution risks” for shareholders, given the complexity of demerging both its platinum business and its iron ore business in South Africa, both of which would involve lengthy approval processes. 

The board unanimously rejected BHP’s proposal, with the company noting that the board is “confident in Anglo American’s standalone future prospects.” 

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