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Report: Anglo American reconsidering downsize plans

On the back of a recent rally in commodity prices, Anglo American Plc is said to be reconsidering its plan to sell off two-thirds of its mines and lay off about half of its employees, The Australian reported Dec. 23, citing a person familiar with the plan.

In December 2015, Anglo American announced a "radical" restructuring program, targeting to slash its assets by 60% and to reduce the number of jobs by 85,000 to around 50,000, as the miner was looking to cut its net debt.

The report noted that the company has sold only nine mines so far and has not met the US$3 billion to US$4 billion target for asset sales that CEO Mark Cutifani set at the start of the year.

A person familiar with the matter said that the sudden surge in coal prices made Cutifani pull back from a deal to dispose the miner's prized coal assets in Australia this year, and the company is finding it hard to set the price on its assets of late.

However, the miner is seeking higher prices for its assets now as the pressure to dispose of a vast chunk of its assets has eased, which has made buyers reluctant to make a go at them.

The company's asset divestment in South Africa was delayed due to political reasons, but that helped the miner take advantage of a rebound in commodity prices, especially in coal and iron ore, which turned some loss-making mines into steady investments.

Anglo American is looking to off-load as many as 13 of its 23 mining operations in the country but is facing pressure from the government to sell to homegrown companies or groups, the report added.