De Beers IPO Could Fetch $10 Billion for Anglo, HSBC Says

  • De Beers would attract a `premium valuation,' HSBC says
  • Diamonds were Anglo's best-performing business in first half

Anglo American Plc, the second-worst performer in the benchmark FTSE 100 this year, could raise more than $10 billion by selling its De Beers diamond business, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

“De Beers would likely attract a premium valuation,” HSBC said in a note to investors Wednesday. “A partial sale through IPO could be, under the right market conditions, a powerful price-discovery mechanism in addition to being significant cash boost.”

Anglo, which owns 85 percent of De Beers, is seeking to raise $3 billion by selling assets and cutting jobs to trim costs and reduce debt. Anglo has already raised about $2 billion this year by offloading its tarmac business, two copper mines in Chile and platinum assets in South Africa. This comes after a China-led collapse in commodity prices undermined Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani’s efforts to turn around the fortunes of a business that mines everything from platinum in Africa to iron ore in Brazil.

De Beers has been one of Anglo’s best-performing businesses, with the world’s biggest diamond producer accounting for more than one-third of the company’s first-half underlying earnings. The situation has since soured as cooling demand in China, the largest market after the U.S., and an industry credit crunch have sapped demand for the gems and prices about 15 percent this year.

An Anglo spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Today’s market appetite is low, and we think Anglo is likely to wait for a cyclical recovery before realistically considering a separation,” HSBC said. The bank said that while it would expect Anglo to retain a stake after an initial public offering, a full sale of its stake would fetch more than $10 billion.

Anglo bought the Oppenheimer family’s 40 percent stake in De Beers for $5.1 billion in 2012, increasing its holding to 85 percent and ending the dynasty’s 80-year ownership. The southern African nation of Botswana controls the rest of the business, founded by the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

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