Earnings down, profits up for Anglo American

Anglo American Plc reported annual headline earnings down 12% on Wednesday, hit by the global economic slowdown, but disposals of non-core assets boosted its bottom line 62%, Reuters reported.

The group, with stakes in the world’s biggest diamond and platinum firms, suffered from low commodity prices and said the outlook remained tough, especially in Europe and Japan.

Anglo posted headline profits – net earnings before exceptionals and goodwill – of $1.77 billion for calendar 2001, compared with a record $2 billion in 2000, driven by a strong performance by its coal and platinum divisions, Reuters reported.

The result was above the consensus forecast of about $1.71 billion, and the group boosted its operating margins to 17.1% from 16.9%, which analysts said was a great outcome, given market conditions, Reuters reported.

Gains from selling non-core assets pushed net profit after tax and exceptionals up 62% to $3.176 billion, with help also coming from the deal in which an Anglo-led consortium took diamond miner De Beers private last year.

Headline earnings per share were down just 6% to $1.20, since 10%of Anglo’s shares were cancelled through the De Beers deal, Reuters reported.

Chief Executive Tony Trahar reportedly said in a statement there were stronger signs of recovery in the United States than in Japan and Europe, but added: “The trading environment for most of our products is likely to remain challenging.”