Freeport CEO ‘looking forward’ to deals once expansion projects done – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters Canada – January 28, 2020)

(Reuters) – Freeport-McMoran Inc (FCX.N), the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, would consider acquisitions, mergers or other deals once three ongoing expansion projects finish by 2022, Chief Executive Richard Adkerson said in an interview on Tuesday.

Demand for copper is projected to surge this decade because of the rising popularity of electric vehicles, which use twice as much copper as internal combustion engines. That, in turn, is expected to fuel an M&A wave across the sector.

Despite that, Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport’s shares are worth half what they were in 2010, dragged down by uncertainty over the company’s stake in a major Indonesian mine and debt from an ill-fated oil and gas venture.

But those issues are largely behind the company, which is about to open a copper mine in the United States, is expanding Indonesia’s Grasberg mine and has launched an analytics program to boost production in Peru.

Those projects should double the company’s cash flow and boost the company’s stock price, giving the company ammunition to consider deals, Adkerson told Reuters.

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