Anglo American Pours Money Into Growth as Buybacks End – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – February 20, 2020)

(Bloomberg)- After spending almost $1 billion in buying back shares, Anglo American Plc is changing directions and leaning fully into growth.

The century-old mining company, which announced full-year earnings on Thursday, opted not to allocate more money to share buybacks. That’ll free up money for Anglo to spend on a $3 billion U.K. potash project and a $5 billion copper mine in Peru with help from a partner.

While other mining companies have focused on giving billions back to shareholders and shied away from blockbuster acquisitions, Anglo is charting out a different path. The company has staked its future on building mining operations around the world in a broad spectrum of different materials, rather than focusing on a single product.

Chief Financial Officer Stephen Pearce said that while buybacks are always considered, the spending on the company’s new copper mine means shareholders will likely have to settle for dividends.

Coal Writedown

Like for other miners, coal is a problem for Anglo. It wrote down the value of its coal assets by about $900 million — echoing a similar move by Glencore Plc this week.

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