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Anglo’s top shareholder to call vote on assets sale plan

Kumba Iron Ore, South Africa’s top producer of the steel-making ingredient, is one of the assets Anglo American wants to sell. (Image of Sishen mine courtesy of Kumba Iron Ore )

Anglo American’s largest shareholder, South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC), has stepped up pressure on the miner’s plan to exit coal and iron ore to focus only on copper, diamonds and platinum by reportedly calling for a shareholder vote.

The South African assets Anglo plans to sell include Kumba Iron Ore Ltd., coal mines that supply state-owned power producer Eskom Holdings, and manganese operations.

PIC, a body that invests public sector pensions in South Africa and which owns 14.5% of Anglo, wants shareholders to decide on the planned mine sales because of concerns that the mining giant may not realize the full value of its assets, Bloomberg reports.

The local operations Anglo, the world’s number five diversified mining company, is hoping to offload include Kumba Iron Ore — the country’s top producer of the steel-making ingredient — , as well as coal mines that supply state-owned power producer Eskom Holdings, and its 40% stake in Samancor, the world’s largest manganese producer.

Last month, several media reports said that PIC, which is overseen by South Africa’s minister of finance, wanted to bundle all of Anglo’s assets in the country into a single entity with its platinum mines as the crown jewels. PIC also owns 30% of world number three platinum producer Lonmin.

Anglo’s chief executive Mark Cutifani is said to have resisted PIC’s demands when it comes to jettisoning the platinum division, Anglo American Platinum Ltd., but the slow progress of asset sales to tackle the company’s crippling (and junk rated) debt is adding to pressure.