Cliffs Natural Resources up on $200m buyback plan

Cliffs Natural Resources up on $200m buyback plan

Cliffs Northshore MIne | Copyright © 2011 Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF), the US biggest iron ore miner, was gaining almost 1.27% to $16.01 Monday noon ET after announcing plans for a $200 million share repurchase program.

The company said its board of directors authorized the new repurchase program, which will remain active until Dec. 31, 2015.

"The implementation of our new strategy centered on the US iron ore business has successfully started," recently appointed chairman and CEO Laurenco Gonclaves said in the press release.

Cliffs Natural Resources up on $200m buyback plan

Source: Yahoo Finance.

"With that, we are very pleased that our newly reconstituted Board of Directors has agreed with our conviction that, at this point, the best use of our capital is to invest in our own business, our people and our assets by buying back Cliffs’ common stock."

The firm also said director Gary Halverson has resigned from his position as a board member.

Activist hedge fund Casablanca Capital won last month its battle to topple the previous board of the company, ending a six-month fight for control of the iron ore miner.

The new executives have vowed to sell or spin the miner's international operations. One of the first assets to go is said to be Western Australia’s Koolyanobbing mine, acquired in 2008 through Cliffs’ takeover of Australian-listed Portman.

The mine produces about 11 million tonnes of iron ore a year, making it one of Australia’s largest iron ore mines not owned by heavyweights BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) or Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG).

The move aims to refocus Cliffs on its most profitable business segment, made up by five iron ore mines in Minnesota and Michigan, which have benefited from the resurgence of the Detroit auto industry and increased drilling for natural gas.