Breakingviews

Commodity producer/trader boundary starts to blur

October 14, 2014

Glencore’s interest in a deal with Rio Tinto was about more than corporate ambition. Commodity traders are keen to buy hard assets to secure supply, while producers view logistics and marketing as a way of boosting returns. Expect more convergence, and shrinking trading margins.

De Beers buyout adds polish to Anglo American

November 7, 2011

The miner is paying the Oppenheimer family a reasonable $5.1 bln to take majority control of De Beers, the world’s top diamond producer. It’s another step to a streamlined Anglo, making it look like a more straightforward takeover target.

No easy fix for South Africa platinum crisis

October 4, 2012

Striking miners want higher pay for dangerous work. But current prices are too low for the industry to pay up. Cutting production would help, but platinum mines are deep and expensive to shut. Firing workers is political dynamite. So the crisis drags on.

Cynthia Carroll’s departure won’t fix Anglo

October 26, 2012

After years of sub-par returns, Anglo American and its chief exec are parting ways. Carroll’s early missteps hurt, but she did deliver needed cultural change. Her successor may gain from more industry experience, but Anglo’s largest problems are mostly out of management’s control.

Anglo needs a dealmaker CEO to unlock value

November 14, 2012

It may be tempting to replace Cynthia Carroll with an operational obsessive who can deliver big projects. That’s one area where the outgoing boss struggled. But the miner really needs a visionary who can make tough calls, like demerging platinum and finding a buyer for the rest.

Xstrata should bide its time on Anglo

October 2, 2009

Xstrata has been stalking Anglo American for more than three months. Now a “put up or shut up” ultimatum from the UK’s Takeover Panel means Xstrata’s chief executive Mick Davis has less than three weeks to make his move. He should just walk away.

The limits of emerging market deal-making

September 30, 2009

So much for emerging-market solidarity. A proposed $24 billion deal between Bharti of India and MTN of South Africa has fallen apart, not for the usual issues of price or control, but national ego.