Mining Week 46/’12: Lonmin vs. Xstrata & the CEO-carousel
November 10, 2012
Top Stories of the Week:
- Lonmin raises equity to stay independent
- Lonmin announced a $800m rights offering, in that way fending of the proposal by Xstrata to increase its stake in the troubled platinum miner to a majority share.
- The strikes in South Africa, which escalated at Lonmin’s operations, have caused significant lost production and urgent financial issues for Lonmin.
- Sources: Lonmin press release; Financial Times; Wall Street Journal
- BHP starts search for new CEO
- BHP Billiton has started the search for the successor of CEO Marius Kloppers. Apparently the company will not necessarily promote an insider to the top position.
- With Mick Davis leaving Xstrata if/when the merger with Glencore is approved and Cynthia Carroll leaving AngloAmerican next year, 3 of the top CEOs in the mining industry will change.
- Sources: Financial Times 1; The Economist; Financial Times 2
- India limits export of iron ore
- Iron ore exports from the Indian state of Orissa will be limited strongly by new production quota for mines without processing facilities.
- The government is trying to attract processing investment to prevent iron ore is only exported without significant benefit for the country. High export duties (raised to 30% early this year) and production quota are used to discourage exports from the world’s 3rd largest iron ore exporter.
- Sources: Wall Street Journal; Commodity Online; Steel Orbis
Trends & Implications:
- Orissa’s attempts to curb exports don’t do much to stimulate local investment in processing capacity. India’s government announced a year ago that it would make it more attractive for companies to invest by setting up mining right and process plant permitting packages. With the current uncertainty about both global demand and India’s local demand outlook it is unlikely that large investments in additional processing capacity will be made in Orissa in the near future. As a result the will mainly slow down the local economy.
- Almost a year ago, after the announcement of Ferreira as new CEO of Vale, this blog conducted a poll among its readers to find out which top company CEO was mostly to be replaced first. The results showed most trust in the future of Kloppers at BHP. A year later 3 out of 4 are on their way out, while most CFOs have been replaced over the past 2 years too. The high level of activity in replacing top executives indicates a change of mindset in the boards of these companies: shifting from a focus on growth and investment to a focus on operational excellence and payout. The new group of top executives will mainly need to show a track record of cost-control and willingness to make tough decisions on closure of mines.
2012 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com