Delivering our strategic objectives
I have been very clear about my ambition for Anglo American – our goal is to become the leading global mining company.
The year under review has seen a combination of strategic restructuring and a period of building from a position of strength, including the identification and execution of opportunities to drive new growth and value.
The restructuring of Anglo American is almost complete and it is now that we can focus on the operational improvements that will be delivered by our asset optimisation programme and the cultural change that we are implementing across the Group.
During the year, we made good strategic progress. In May, we disposed of our remaining 29% holding in Highveld Steel and Vanadium, and, in June, the unbundling of Hulamin from Tongaat-Hulett was completed.
Mondi, our paper and packaging business, was demerged in early July and established as a dual-listed company on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges. In line with our intention to ultimately exit AngloGold Ashanti, we reduced our holding to 16.6%, realising in excess of $2.9 billion.
In August, we announced plans to sell Tarmac. Tarmac has a leading position in the UK construction materials industry, and is well positioned in certain key markets in continental Europe and the Middle East. Tarmac had a very strong operational performance in 2007, with a number of its business improvement initiatives starting to make a significant impact. It is expected that the performance of Tarmac will continue to underpin a competitive sale process; however, it has been decided not to launch the marketing phase of the sale process until current credit market conditions improve.
We also made progress during 2007 in meeting the employment equity and black economic empowerment requirements of the South African Mining Charter, including groundbreaking equity participation arrangements in Anglo Platinum’s assets.
In February 2008, the South African Department of Minerals and Energy confirmed it would award Anglo American with all its new order mining rights, subject to completion of outstanding documentation, by 31 March 2008. This is a landmark achievement for the Group and for the many black empowered businesses with which we are partnered.