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Anglo American – rejects a third offer from BHP

Anglo American has received and rejected another proposed offer from BHP, the complicated deal arrangement proving a sticking point.
Anglo American - record profits as prices rise

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Anglo American has received and rejected its third proposed offer from BHP. Each offer has improved on the last with the most recent implying a value of £31.11 per share, based on BHP closing price on 22 May.

The proposal continues to include a requirement for Anglo to complete two separate demergers of its entire shareholdings in Anglo American Platinum Limited and Kumba Iron Ore Limited. The Anglo board describes these terms as adding ‘material completion risk’.

Anglo has extended the deadline for which a firm offer has to be received, until 29 May. Though, BHP has stated that this offer will not be increased.

The shares were broadly flat shortly after the announcement.

Our view

Anglo American has rejected a third proposed offer from BHP. The increased implied price clearly didn’t prove enough to offset concerns around the complex deal structure.

This comes as Anglo is about to undertake a hefty portfolio reshuffle. Management is looking to create a more agile and streamlined business with a focus on copper, premium iron ore, and crop nutrients. But getting there will take some work.

Anglo will need to get rid of several assets: steelmaking coal, nickel, platinum, and diamonds. There’s a mixture of sales, de-mergers and other options on the table to ensure maximum shareholder value is achieved. But no matter how well-planned this process is, there’s a lot of risk.

Broadly speaking we are supportive of the move. Recent takeover talk has accelerated these plans, but for a while now it had looked like Anglo was struggling to unlock the full potential of its assets while housing them all under one roof.

Once complete Anglo’s current production will be close to an even split between copper and iron ore. These are two areas we’ve liked for some time. For copper, the Quellaveco mine in Peru finished its ramp-up over 2023, and in Chile, there are plans to increase production from Collahuasi – both are high-margin assets.

The iron ore portfolio is set to expand with the Vale deal adding a fresh resource base to the Minas-Rio mine. We like the deal, it gives access to higher-grade ore which is not only more attractive to buyers but should also lead to lower costs. But it’s a long way off, so not something likely to have an impact anytime soon.

Then there’s Woodsmith, an exciting crop nutrient asset currently in the early stages of development. The breaks have been put on, and investment is set to slow from previous plans. We think this is another good move, the best outcome is for Anglo to bring on a partner to share in the development costs, and the risks.

Sentiment around Anglo before all the offer talk came along was questionable, after production cuts and struggling performance from some of its assets. We think the new strategy has a good chance at unlocking value, and the proposition of a more streamlined Anglo focused on copper and iron ore is attractive.

But executing such a huge reshuffle brings a host of risks and is expected to take a couple of years to complete. The near term has become quite tricky to map and investors should prepare for volatility.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk

Mining companies tend to come with relatively high ESG risk. Emissions, effluences and waste and community relations are key risk drivers in this sector. Carbon emissions, resource use, health and safety and bribery and corruption are also contributors to ESG risk.

According to Sustainalytics, Anglo American’s management of material ESG issues is strong.

Climate targets include carbon neutrality across operations by 2040. There are also targets for a 30% improvement in energy efficiency and a 50% reduction in freshwater withdrawal against 2016 levels in water scarce areas by 2030. There is a strong renewable energy programme, which is expected to fully meet energy needs in Chile, Brazil, Peru and South Africa.

ESG data sourced from Sustainalytics.

Anglo American key facts

All ratios are sourced from Refinitiv, based on previous day’s closing values. Please remember yields are variable and not a reliable indicator of future income. Keep in mind key figures shouldn’t be looked at on their own – it’s important to understand the big picture.

This article is original Hargreaves Lansdown content, published by Hargreaves Lansdown. It was correct as at the date of publication, and our views may have changed since then. Unless otherwise stated estimates, including prospective yields, are a consensus of analyst forecasts provided by Refinitiv. These estimates are not a reliable indicator of future performance. Yields are variable and not guaranteed. Investments rise and fall in value so investors could make a loss.

This article is not advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any investment. No view is given on the present or future value or price of any investment, and investors should form their own view on any proposed investment. This article has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is considered a marketing communication. Non-independent research is not subject to FCA rules prohibiting dealing ahead of research, however HL has put controls in place (including dealing restrictions, physical and information barriers) to manage potential conflicts of interest presented by such dealing. Please see our full non-independent research disclosure for more information.

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Written by
Matt Britzman
Equity Analyst

Matt is an Equity Analyst on the share research team, providing up-to-date research and analysis on individual companies and wider sectors.

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Article history
Published: 23rd May 2024