Anglo American seen likely to cut dividend as metal prices fall

Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:59am EDT
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* Anglo hurt by loss-making platinum assets

* May follow Glencore precedent on dividend to curb debt

* Company says next dividend review due in February

* Rio, BHP vow to maintain progressive dividend policy

By Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Freya Berry

Sept 10 (Reuters) - Anglo American is likely to be the next mining firm to follow Glencore's example in cutting its dividend to help contain debt levels and preserve cash amid a global commodity market slump, analysts and bankers said.

Glencore, weighed down by net debt of $30 billion and hurt by declines in its key products of copper and coal to six-year lows, this week suspended dividends and said it would sell assets and raise $2.5 billion in a share sale.

The rout in commodity prices is putting pressure on credit ratings and dividends across the mining sector, prompting reductions in capital expenditure, operational costs and jobs.

Among Glencore's big mining rivals, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have both reaffirmed their commitment to paying a dividend, but Anglo is seen as more vulnerable due to its higher-cost iron ore assets, loss-making platinum assets and slower than expected progress with its restructuring plans.   Continued...