Anglo's First Quarter Production Climbs; Says Sale of Zinc Unit `Advanced'

Anglo American Plc, which controls the world’s biggest platinum producer, boosted first-quarter iron ore, platinum, copper and diamond output on rising demand and said the sale of its zinc unit is “well advanced.”

“We are very bullish on the outlook” for commodities, Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Carroll told the company’s annual general meeting in London today. “The outlook is -- and we’re trying to be conservative -- much better now than it was a year ago.”

Anglo American, based in the city, is raising production as demand recovers from the effects of recessions in the world’s biggest economies last year, when the company suspended dividends and cut more than 23,000 jobs. The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of commodity prices rose 26 percent in the past year.

Anglo will probably resume dividends this year as long as the company and markets improve, said Chairman John Parker. Iron ore output rose 23 percent, coking coal 32 percent and refined platinum climbed 11 percent in the first quarter, Anglo said in a statement. Copper and nickel gained 7 percent. Anglo Platinum Ltd. said it’s set to produce 2.5 million ounces this year.

Planned asset disposals by Anglo American are “progressing well,” the company said. It is selling businesses from paper to steel to focus on commodities such as copper and iron ore that are in demand in fast-growing economies in Asia.

Tarmac Sale

Anglo received a proposal to sell a controlling interest in its Tarmac building products unit to Marwyn Materials Ltd., two people familiar with the offer said yesterday. Tarmac is valued by analysts at $4 billion to $6 billion, according to Sky News.

“If and when we get an acceptable price, we’ll not fiddle about it,” Parker said of Tarmac at the AGM today. He didn’t say whether Marwyn made an offer.

Anglo is exiting projects in the northern Philippines, he said. “De Beers and diamonds remain a core activity for us,” he said, asked if Anglo plans to sell its 45 percent stake in the world’s biggest diamond producer. De Beers may list shares in April or May next year, the Johannesburg-based Business Times said April 18, without saying where it got the information.

Anglo has more than doubled in the past year to 2,800 pence by the close of London trading. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, rose 56 percent in the period.

To contact the reporters on this story: Carli Lourens in Johannesburg at clourens@bloomberg.net Firat Kayakiran in London at fkayakiran@bloomberg.net

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