Anglo American freezes hiring amid global shake-up

Los Bronces copper mine in Chile. (Image courtesy of Anglo American | Flickr.)

Anglo American (LON: AAL), the takeover target of mining giant BHP (ASX: BHP), has frozen hiring globally as it works on a company-wide restructuring announced earlier this week.

The decision, first reported by Reuters, affects recruitment of all non-site-based permanent employees and contractors.

“Having set out the results of our strategy review and the changes we will be making to our portfolio, this is an appropriate measure,” a spokesman told the news agency. “Clearly there will be exceptions for critical roles.”

Anglo American has turned down BHP’s acquisition bids twice since April 25, stating the offers continue to considerably undervalue the company.

Shareholders in both companies have said they expect the world’s largest miner to come back with a third and improved proposal before a regulatory deadline next week.

Anglo announced on Tuesday plans to spin out or sell some of its legacy assets in an attempt to protect itself from current and future bids.  The sweeping break up scheme will see it sell its diamond business De Beers, its South Africa-based Anglo American Platinum — Amplats — and its steelmaking coal assets.

The move will take Anglo from being the most diversified to the most concentrated major miner, leaving it in a position from which it would be easier to fend off unsolicited bids.

Given the lack of engagement from Anglo’s board, analysts predict that BHP will either withdraw the acquisition bid or pursue a hostile takeover. The mining giant has until May 22 to submit a formal offer under the U.K. takeover regulations.

(With files from Reuters)