Anglo American and Rio Tinto report record first half profits
As expected, major mining companies are reporting record profits in 2021 thanks to the commodity boom driven by efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the reopening of economies around the world.
On July 29, Anglo American reported the best half year profits in the 104-year history of the company and that it will return $4.1 billion to shareholders.
On July 28, Rio Tinto reported its highest-ever interim profit and that it will pay $9.1 billion in dividends.
The mining industry has been one of the largest beneficiaries of the global recovery efforts with trillions of dollars committed to the recovery. Commodities like iron and ore are in high demand for infrastructure efforts while critical minerals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt and in high demand for the pending energy transition.
“Government stimulus in response to ongoing COVID-19 pressures has driven strong demand for our products at a time of constrained supply resulting in a significant spike in most prices,” Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said. “We focused on safely running our world-class assets and supplying products to our customers. This enabled us, despite operational challenges, to deliver record financial results with free cash flow of $10.2 billion and underlying earnings of $12.2 billion, after taxes and government royalties of $7.3 billion. We are further strengthening the portfolio with our commitment to fund the high-quality Jadar lithium project, which signals our large-scale entry into the fast-growing battery materials market. We will pay an interim dividend of 561 US cents per share, representing 75 percent of underlying earnings.
“We are making progress on our four priorities, identifying opportunities for operational improvement, advancing our ESG agenda, taking important investment decisions and stepping up our external engagement,” said Stausholm. “We are making real and lasting changes to the way we engage, interact and operate and are committed to ensuring that we have strong and positive relationships wherever we do business. We have identified what we need to do to make Rio Tinto a better company for the long term, with the right teams in place to unleash our full potential.”
Anglo American reported that revenue rose 114 percent to $21.7 billion and profit attributable to shareholders climbed to $5.2 billion, compared with $471 million in the first half last year. It means that Anglo American more than doubled what it made in 2020 as a whole.
In line with its objective of maximizing shareholder returns, the company declared dividends of $3.1 billion, or $3.31 cents a share, including a $1 billion special dividend and $1 billion in share buybacks.
“The first six months of 2021 have seen strong demand and prices for many of our products as economies begin to recoup lost ground, spurred by stimulus measures across the major economies,” chief executive Mark Cutifani said in a statement.
“The share buyback should tell you that we don’t think this is as good as it gets.”
“The platinum group metals and copper – essential to the global decarbonization imperative as we electrify transport and harness clean, renewable energy – and premium quality iron ore for greener steelmaking, supported by an improving market for diamonds, all contributed to a record half-year financial performance,” Cutifani said.