Anglo plans to hand back $5bn to investors

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The Independent Online

Anglo American, the world's third-largest miner, will hand back an extra $5bn (£2.62bn) to investors after posting a big jump in first-half profits, which lifted its shares nearly 5 per cent.

The gold, platinum and copper specialist said operating profits before exceptional items rose 52 per cent to $4.56bn for the half year from $2.99bn previously. Underlying earnings per share rose to $1.70, matching City expectations.

The UBS analyst Paul Galloway said: "The real surprise of these results is the $5bn capital return for the remainder of the year. This significantly exceeds the return from Rio Tinto, which appears to be hoarding cash."

The company plans an additional $2bn share buyback and a $1bn special dividend worth 67 cents a share, which some analysts had expected to come much later. The extra payout comes on top of a $2bn share buyback which started in March and is almost complete. In February the group also unveiled plans for a special dividend worth $500m, or 33 cents a share.

The JPMorgan analyst Ross Gardiner was delighted with the special payout: "This, we believe, is a critical aspect that could set Anglo apart from its peers; it pays out its windfalls."

Anglo's chief executive Tony Trahar said the restructuring plan announced last year to focus on core mining activities could take up to three years to complete, but he hoped the main elements would be wrapped up within the next six to nine months. A major part of this is to dispose of the AngloGold Ashanti stake in an orderly manner.