Anglo American acquires a 35% stake in Avmin

12 March 2002

This represents a total sale consideration of R1,6 billion.

Rick added “Anglo American will support Avmin’s current management team, seeking minority board representation. Avmin, therefore remains an independent SA company & I retain my role as CEO for as long as the board of directors support this appointment.”

12 March 2002: The board of directors of Anglovaal Mining Limited (Avmin) has been informed that Arctic Resources Limited (Arctic) has, subject to appropriate regulatory approvals, disposed of 34,9 per cent of the issued share capital of Avmin at R41 per share to Anglo American plc (Anglo American). This represents a total consideration of R1,6 billion.

The disposal, effective 12 March 2002, by Arctic of a material portion of its holding in Avmin represents the final step in the elimination of the historical control structure of this South African company. Avmin CEO, Rick Menell, commented: “The offshore Menell family interests were held via the Arctic structure and the disposal by Arctic to Anglo American represents the first time in the 69 year history of the Group that ownership is not held via a controlling family”.

Menell continued: “the unwinding of the Arctic shareholding is of significant benefit to all Avmin’s stakeholders as it now introduces an open and flexible structure to facilitate organic and corporate growth, thereby further unlocking value and broadening investor participation. Arctic has created significant value since its entry into Avmin during October 2000 and Avmin now faces new challenges and opportunities, which are best achieved by the introduction of a strategic industry partner”.

Menell added: “Anglo American has indicated that it will support Avmin’s current management team. To this end, it intends to seek minority board representation. Avmin, therefore, remains an independent South African company and I retain my role as the CEO for as long as the board of directors continue to support this appointment. It is also my intention to maintain our current management team as well as the existing culture within Avmin that has delivered such success in terms of shareholder value during the last few years”.

Furthermore, Anglo American has stated that it will be a stable, supportive shareholder and, in conjunction with Avmin’s management, will explore all opportunities to unlock value in a manner that maximises value for all stakeholders.

Avmin’s asset portfolio in South Africa, which has been enhanced as a result of the weaker SA rand/US dollar exchange rate as well as the completion of some of the major projects, together with ongoing improvements in operating performances, comprise:

The ferrous metal assets, held in Assmang Limited (Assmang), which include iron ore, manganese ore, ferro-manganese, chrome ore and ferro-chrome. Assmang recently commissioned its significant new ferro-chrome expansion and its new manganese shaft expansion remains on schedule for completion in 2003.
Precious metals assets that are held through Avgold Limited (Avgold), in which Anglo American has a 12 per cent interest, include the Target and ETC gold mines. Target, which is South Africa’s newest gold mine was officially opened on schedule and within budget by Avgold on 8 March 2002. Within Avmin, a full feasibility programme is being conducted on its new platinum group metals (PGM) asset, Two Rivers Platinum (Pty) Limited, in partnership with Impala Platinum Holdings Limited. The project appears more attractive in light of strengthening PGM prices and a weaker rand.
In its base metals unit, Avmin operates South Africa’s only primary nickel mine, Nkomati, held 25 per cent by Anglo American, and the cobalt and copper producer, Chambishi Metals located in Zambia. At Nkomati, an improving nickel price and better than planned PGM prices are all factors contributing to value enhancements for the existing mine and has made the proposed expansion project more robust. Chambishi Metals remains on track for its full production level to occur during the last quarter of the calendar year 2002.
The board of Avmin welcomes the supportive statements that have been made by Anglo American regarding co-operation with Avmin. The board looks forward to continue working together with Anglo American to ensure that these expressions of support can be harnessed to the maximum advantage of all Avmin’s stakeholders.

Avmin believes that the company’s ability to meet new challenges and opportunities will be enhanced by the presence of Anglo American, a leading global resource industry player.

Julian Gwillim
General Manager, Investor Relations