LONDON: Anglo American Plc, the world's third largest miner, said yesterday it would return US$3bil to investors as it posted a 46% rise in annual net profit, below the average forecast.
Chief executive Tony Trahar, who steps down from the role at the end of the month, said he saw “a supportive climate for commodities in the near term”.
Trahar also told reporters that Anglo had received approval in principle from South African authorities to spin off Mondi, its packaging and paper business, by the middle of the year with dual listings in Johannesburg and London.
The gold, platinum and copper specialist made a net profit of US$5.47bil in 2006, on revenue up 12% at US$38.6bil. The final dividend was raised 21% to 75 cents, making the total dividend 20% higher at 108 cents.
Booming global demand led by China's rapid industrialisation has sent the price of metals such as copper, zinc and aluminium soaring, taking miners' profits with them and leading to big cash returns to investors and raised dividends.
Analysts' average forecast was for US$5.88bil net profit with the 12 forecasts found by Reuters Estimates ranging from US$5.41bil to US$7.88bil.
UBS analysts said in a broker note that Anglo investors could expect a further buyback on top of the US$3bil. – Reuters