Anglo American: Cutifani upbeat on future of De Beers

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Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani expected subsidiary De Beers to beat a group target for return on capital even after his predecessor paid top dollar for a majority stake. “The acquisition is not delivering what we would expect it to deliver,” Cutifani said yesterday. “But in 2016, in my view, they will be delivering better than 15 percent of capital employed.” His predecessor, Cynthia Carroll, bought the Oppenheimer family’s 40 percent for $5.1 billion (R53bn) in 2012, increasing Anglo’s stake to 85 percent. Botswana holds the rest of the business. “We certainly paid at the top of the market,” Cutifani said. “But I do think the one good thing about buying a quality business that you know is that even if you pay top dollar at the time, you’ll probably be right.” Cutifani is reviewing projects in search of savings and ways to improve cash flow. De Beers returned about 10 percent on capital last year and Anglo wants units to deliver 15 percent return on capital by 2016. The world’s biggest diamond company makes up a substantial chunk of Anglo operations, with diamonds contributing about 19 percent of the parent company’s $33bn revenue last year. “De Beers is an important part of the portfolio,” Cutifani said. “If we are not getting value from De Beers inside that structure, I think we’ll have to review and revisit that conversation, but that’s in 2016.” – Bloomberg

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