Exchange control lifting sends strong growth message
Mining News Pro - The lifting of exchange control by South Africa sends a really strong message about the country’s desire to promote investment and growth, says Anglo American FD Stephen Pearce.

He gave South Africa a pat on the back during Anglo’s virtual presentation of half-year results last week, describing the lifting of the exchange controls as a ”really pleasing development”.

“I’m really pleased to see the lifting of the South African exchange control restrictions, that was also announced back in February.

“As I’ve said previously, the currency controls that used to exist didn’t have a major practical significant impact on us, but we do welcome the simplicity in capital structure and the move towards a more typical OECD regime,” said Pearce.

Wikipedia describes the OECD, or Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, as an intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

“I think it also sends a really strong positive message about the country’s desire to promote investment and growth,” added Pearce.

Anglo’s net assets decreased by $2.5-billion to $28.9-billion (31 December 2019: $31.4-billion), reflecting the effect of foreign exchange on operating assets denominated in local currency and dividend payments to company shareholders and non-controlling interests, partially offset by higher inventory.

The London- and Johannesburg-listed diversified mining company reported 39%-lower $3.4-billion half-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

The interim dividend of $0.28 a share declared by Anglo is consistent with its 40% payout policy.

Outcomes for the six months to June 30 included:

-profit attributable to equity shareholders of $0.5-billion compared with last year’s $1.9-billion in the half-year;
-net debt increased to $7.6-billion at a 21% gearing, owing to investment in growth and temporary working capital build-up at De Beers and platinum group metals (PGMs);
-basic headline earnings a share of $0.49 compared to $1.48 in the comparative period;
-investing in high quality growth in later cycle products, including Quellaveco in copper and Woodsmith in fertiliser; and
-advancing towards targeted carbon neutrality across operations by 2040.

Anglo produces diamonds, copper, PGMs, nickel, manganese, crop nutrients, iron-ore, metallurgical coal and thermal coal. In PGMs, it has reported a broadening of applications in support of hydrogen in particular.

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