Stock in Focus: Anglo American

THE INCOME INVESTOR: Large platinum and diamonds businesses give Anglo the kind of exposure to "late stage" commodities that major mining peers simply don't possess

Daniel Rohr, CFA 25 March, 2014 | 3:35PM
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As China rebalances away from infrastructure and construction-led growth, long-lagging Anglo will find itself better positioned than most diversified peers. The company has greater exposure to consumption-oriented commodities like platinum and diamonds (about 40% of revenue), which should enjoy better demand growth than investment-oriented commodities like iron ore and copper that prospered most in the past decade. Anglo's huge platinum business should benefit as rising household incomes bolster Chinese demand for automobiles and jewellery, categories that collectively account for 84% of platinum and palladium use in China. However, persistent problems related to labor, geology, and electricity in South Africa, which have weighed on profits in recent years, threaten to limit the upside.

Planned mine closures and restructurings promise material efficiencies if fully implemented. But delivering will be no mean feat given labour and government opposition. Our expectations are accordingly modest. An 85% stake in De Beers makes Anglo the world's largest diamond miner. As with platinum and palladium, there's big upside to Chinese diamond demand, which now stands at 10% of the global total. Realizing that upside will take more than rising Chinese incomes, as diamonds lack the cultural resonance they have in the United States.

Maximizing Chinese diamond demand will really come down to marketing. If Chinese brides come to view the diamond engagement ring as a "must have" like their American and Japanese counterparts did in the 20th century, diamonds have tremendous upside. Although "overweight" consumption-oriented commodities, Anglo has major exposure to investment-oriented commodities, including iron ore, copper, and metallurgical coal. We expect waning demand growth for these commodities as China rebalances.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Rating
Anglo American PLC2,717.00 GBP0.00Rating

About Author

Daniel Rohr, CFA  is a senior equity analyst at Morningstar.