Anglo American boss Cynthia Carroll bowed out from the big miner today with a disappointing set of results, but struck a defiant note, insisting she had no regrets.
Carroll, who will formally hand over the reins to Mark Cutifani on April 1, reported that the FTSE 100 miner made a loss of $1.49 billion (£962 million) for 2012, down from a $6.17 billion profit the previous year, as an already-announced $4 billion writedown on the beleaguered Minas Rio iron ore project in Brazil took its toll.
A further $600 million impairment charge on its platinum projects, which were hit by a cocktail of rising costs, falling prices and a run of strikes in South Africa, put further strain on the company.
Carroll quit in October after Anglo American raised its estimated spending on Minas Rio for the sixth time, to $8.8 billion, leaving the project more than three times over budget and five years behind schedule. But today she stood by the decision which ultimately undid her.
“We did not go after a huge acquisition, or an enormous company,” she said. “We did not have ‘attempted acquisitions’ and then ‘failed acquisitions’, like some of our competitors. What we did do, and this was the mandate I was given when I arrived, was to pursue iron ore.
“Minas Rio is a resource that has increased fourfold since we have gone into it and it is going to be bigger. The quality of this resource is phenomenal.”
Stripping out one-off charges, Anglo’s operating profit was down by 44 per cent to $6.2 billion, as the company suffered from rising costs and falling commodity prices.
However, the shares jumped 58p, or nearly 2 per cent, to 2071p, as the miner lifted its dividend by 15 per cent to 53 cents a share.