Mining Week 4/’13: Caterpillar’s trouble & Bumi’s future
January 27, 2013
- Caterpillar sees lower sales and fraud at Chinese acquisition
- Caterpillar’s machinery sales declined 1% over the past 3 months, driven by poor results in AsiaPacific and North America.
- The news of the mining slowdown hitting the top equipment manufacturer comes at the same time as the announcement of structural over reporting of profits at ERA Mining Machinery, the Chinese manufacturer bought for approx. $700m last year.
- Sources: Caterpillar press release; Wall Street Journal; Financial Times
- Bumi board favors Bakrie’s plans over Rothschild’s
- The only two directors on Bumi’s board who Nathan Rothschild wanted to stay in function have sided with the rest of the board in the support for the plan to have the Bakrie family buy the Bumi Resources assets and separate from Bumi, which would be left with the Berau assets.
- Rothschild and Bakrie have been in a dispute about the future of the London-listed miner with coal assets in Indonesia for several months. The company said this week that the decisions about the future structure of the group will not be impeded by the ongoing legal probe into financial practices at their assets.
- Sources: Financial Times; Telegraph; Wall Street Journal
Trends & Implications:
- The reduction of machinery sales at Caterpillar signals that the peak of new project development has passed. While miners raced to add capacity over the past years, many new projects are now put on hold or downsized. Although Caterpillar can expect to benefit from the forecasted rise increase of global resource requirements over the next decades, the fastest growth is over. Equipment manufacturers are a good indicator of overall growth outlook in the industry as their sales is directly linked to building of production capacity.
- Bumi’s future appears to be that of an Asian-focused coal company without strong Indonesian shareholders. The tie-up of the Vallar cash shell with powerful Indonesian miners did create a significant player in the region, but the divergent views on corporate governance between the Indonesian and European-based owners has made it impossible to run the company effectively.
2013 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com