Cynthia Carroll. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Cynthia Carroll. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

NEARLY all divisions within Anglo American’s broad suite of commodities posted steep falls in earnings, resulting in Anglo posting a full-year loss of $1.49bn for 2012 compared with a $6bn profit a year earlier.

"This decrease in underlying operating profit was mainly driven by the platinum, metallurgical coal, iron ore and manganese, and copper business units, whose financial performance was affected by lower prices and higher costs, with the exception of metallurgical coal, where costs decreased," Anglo said in results for the year to end-December.

"There was a decline in realised prices across the majority of commodities produced by the group," it said.

Anglo’s revenue fell 10% to $32.8bn. Underlying earnings per share, which excludes one-off items, fell by 55% to $2.26. It paid a final dividend of $0.53 per share, bringing the total for the year to $0.85 — a 15% increase on last year’s payment to shareholders.

Net debt grew by $7.2bn during the year to $8.6bn, which is $5.5bn higher than at the midyear mark.

The purchase of a 40% stake in diamond miner De Beers in the second half of the year was the primary reason for the increase.

Anglo used cash flows from its operations, totalling $5.6bn, to fund its investments including the Los Bronces copper mine, Barro Alto nickel mine, Minas Rio iron-ore project in Brazil and Kolomela iron-ore mine in South Africa.

Looking ahead, Anglo CEO Cynthia Carroll, who hands over to Mark Cutifani in April, said 2013 should be a better year for the group than last year.

Iron ore and copper should have better price performances, while there was growth potential for metallurgical coal because of slowing exports from the US due to high shipping costs, she said.