Freeport Looks Poised to Turn Corner After Five-Year Bumpy Road – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – January 22, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — It’s been a rough haul for Freeport-McMoRan Inc., but the future may be looking up.

In the past five years, the world’s largest publicly traded copper miner was forced to sell assets and shares to manage debt as it weathered fall-out from the collapse of the commodity super cycle. It emerged from multiyear talks over its Indonesian mine to secure long-term rights, and hung on as production at the flagship operation tumbled during the switch from open pit to underground mining.

And in the past year, it has been buffeted by global trade winds and hit by crossfire from demonstrations against a competitor in Peru.

When the Phoenix-based company releases fourth-quarter results on Thursday, the market will be more than ready for some good news.

Morgan Stanley’s “bull case” for the stock predicts a 40% rally to $18 a share. While the ramp-up of underground mining at Grasberg, Freeport’s massive Indonesian copper-and-gold asset, remains challenging, the bank believes the miner “is well positioned to deliver on execution,” analyst Carlos De Alba said in a note this week.

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