Anglo American achieves best half-year profits in 104-year history

Anglo American will return a whopping US$4.1 billion to shareholders after making its best ever half-year profit haul, thanks to rising commodity prices and increased global economic activity.

The diversified global miner reported pre-tax profits of $10.1 billion for the six months to June, up from $1.7 billion in the same period last year.

Revenue rose 114% to $21.7 billion and profit attributable to shareholders increased to $5.2 billion, compared with $471 million in H1 last year. The company’s latest H1 profit figures show Anglo more than doubled what it made in the entirety of 2020.

In line with its objective of maximising shareholder returns, the company declared dividends of $3.1 billion – or $3.31 cents a share – including a $1 billion special dividend and $1 billion in share buybacks.

“The first six months of 2021 have seen strong demand and prices for many of our products as economies begin to recoup lost ground, spurred by stimulus measures across the major economies,” chief executive Mark Cutifani said.

“The share buyback should tell you that we don’t think this is as good as it gets.”

“The platinum group metals and copper – essential to the global decarbonisation imperative as we electrify transport and harness clean, renewable energy – and premium quality iron ore for greener steelmaking, supported by an improving market for diamonds, all contributed to a record half-year financial performance.”

However, the mining giant has seen its ESG reputation suffer due to an ongoing class action suit brought on behalf of over 100,000 members of the community of Kabwe in Zambia.

“Anglo would far sooner distribute its profits amongst management and the Board than look after communities blighted by its operations,” said Zanele Mbuyisa of South Africa-based law firm Mbuyisa Moleele.