Anglo American to Slash Assets and Cut 85,000 Jobs – by Scott Patterson and Alex MacDonald (Wall Street Journal – December 8, 2015)

http://www.wsj.com/

LONDON— Anglo American PLC on Tuesday unveiled 85,000 new job reductions and a sweeping restructuring of its business in response to a prolonged commodity-price slump, helping to send mining stocks into a tailspin across the world.

Anglo’s plan includes asset sales, large cost cuts and a suspension of dividend payments in a bid to weather weak commodity markets. Chief Executive Mark Cutifani said Anglo, founded in 1917 by mining mogul Ernest Oppenheimer, will be “a very different company” after it follows through on the restructuring plan.

The moves—which the company called “radical”—mark one of the most drastic responses from a major mining company to a relentless plunge in commodities. Slackening demand from China, even as miners ramp up production, has punished the prices of nearly every commodity, from copper and iron ore to aluminum.

The onslaught is forcing miners to swallow increasingly bitter pills, including dividend and cost cuts, asset sales and debt-reduction plans. New projects have been put on ice and expansion plans scrapped in a downturn many industry veterans say is the worst they have ever seen.

Swiss mining and trading giant Glencore PLC in September suspended its dividend and raised $2.5 billion in stock as part of a plan to cut its net debt by more than $10 billion.

Glencore’s stock has seen a sharp selloff, tumbling nearly 30% in a single day of furious trading later that month, as investors fret that sharply lower commodity revenues could result in crippling credit-rating downgrades.

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