Was it a gaffe or was the poor man misquoted? We certainly have two very different accounts of Todd Stitzer’s contribution to a closed conference at Merrill Lynch on 22 September. Maybe it would be better if these sort of briefings just didn’t take place.
Deutsche Telekom is struggling in two of its most important international markets and desperately needs to find a quick fix. Its proposed joint venture with France Telecom is a graceful way to establish a leading position in the UK market. But buying Sprint Nextel in the United States looks far less sensible.
It’s been a long, long wait for the shareholders in Cadbury. For a profitless decade since the (adjusted) price first hit six pounds, they have been hoping for someone to come along and take their sweets away on the sort of terms they saw being offered to others.
Anglo American hasn’t yet received a formal bid from Xstrata. But the miner’s interim results read very much like a defence document.
The highlights alone give a pretty good idea of what chief executive Cynthia Carroll and new chairman John Parker will focus on if Xstrata does eventually pounce.
Anglo’s case hinges on four things.
First, that its plan to cut $2 billion of costs by 2011 is ahead of target. Second, that it is getting on top of its $11 billion net debt, and third, that progress is being made in restructuring its problem child Anglo Platinum <AMSJ.J>. Lastly, Anglo acknowledges that it is an objective to reinstate the dividend.
Added to these elements, lest they appeared to have too defensive a flavour, is the promise of growth, largely through its Minas-Rio iron ore project in Brazil and its Los Bronces copper development.
Of these, cost savings are a crucial point of contention in the Xstrata debate, with the rival miner’s chief executive Mick Davis confident he can squeeze a further $1 billion out of a combination with Anglo, taking the total to $3 billion.
Anglo isn’t making any promises beyond those already given but the tone of the language — which includes talk of being ahead on “asset optimisation”, procurement and job reductions — hints that it may be able to find more savings on its own, without handing anything to Xstrata.
So far the market seems largely happy to let Carroll stick to her plan — highlighting Anglo’s leading position in platinum, diamonds and iron ore alongside its cost cutting success. But investors might ask more searching questions in the event that Xstrata did come back offering a premium.