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Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L ) is one of the most diverse mining businesses in the world, with major interests in iron ore, copper, coal, diamonds, and platinum. Yet, valued at a mere 28 billion pounds, it attracts far less attention than the likes of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.
Because of a glut of supply, platinum is now trading below the price of gold, which is very unusual (as Roland Head explained in this recent article on platinum miners). This lead to a slump in earnings, and Anglo American has now installed Chris Griffith, who previously ran its iron ore profit, as Amplats new chief executive. Norman Mbazima, head of thermal coal, will takes the reins at iron ore, which is currently Anglo's most profitable division.
Diamonds are also proving to be an issue, with profits falling at De Beers, where Anglo holds a 45% stake.
So perhaps it's just as well that the remainder of Anglo's businesses are progressing well. In its latest production report, released today, iron ore production was 12% ahead and copper production, Anglo's second-largest profit center, increased by 7%. Record production levels were seen in both thermal and metallurgical coal.
Anglo's interim results are due to be released next week, so investors won't need to wait long to see how much in the way of profits have been generated in the last six months.
The shares, at 2,050 pence, are down some 30% over the last 12 months, although most of the major miners have posted similar decreases. Anglo trades on a prospective price-to-earnings ratio of just over 8, and a forecast yield of 2.5%. While that looks cheap at face value, it's pretty much in line with the rest of the sector.
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