All eyes on Car­roll

Next nine months seen cru­cial for new CEO

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & markets - DAVID MCKAY

THE NEXT NINE MONTHS may be cru­cial for Cana­dian Cyn­thia Car­roll, who is of­fi­cially now the hands-on CEO at An­glo Amer­i­can. “I think she has to be fairly ac­tive to prove that she’s not just the care­taker man­ager,” says Peter Ma­jor, a hedge fund man­ager at Cadiz.

There’s rem­nant chitchat in Jo­han­nes­burg that An­glo may fall to a hos­tile takeover and much may de­pend on Car­roll’s abil­ity to im­pose her will and di­rec­tion, the chitchat­ter­ers say. Broadly speak­ing, she needs to fin­ish off pre­de­ces­sor Tony Tra- har’s re­struc­tur­ing work and pare away any man­age­ment lay­ers that might pre­vent her ex­celling oper­a­tionally.

Si­mon Thompson, the An­glo ex­ec­u­tive be­lieved to have been a can­di­date for Tra­har’s job, an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion ef­fec­tive from 13 April. The com­mon­sense view is that he quit rather than be­ing pushed. But there may be some truth to a Lon­don Sun­day Tele­graph re­port on 25 March that Car­roll may well take the axe to An­glo’s bu­reau­cracy. Some An­glo share­hold­ers would wel­come that.

“I’d like to see a cleaner

struc­ture, more con­trol of cash flow and a more agile, leaner or­gan­i­sa­tion,” says Henk Groe­newald, a fund man­ager at Coro­na­tion Fund Man­agers.

“Get­ting to know the busi­ness would be key,” says Matt Bren­zel, a fund man­ager at African Har­vest. “But I think the list­ing of Mondi would be the num­ber one pri­or­ity on her list.”

A more dis­tant third on the “to do” list is to over­see the suc­cess­ful em­pow­er­ment of An­glo Plat­inum, An­glo’s 75% sub­sidiary com­pany. Ma­jor reck­ons a lit­tle less hos­til­ity could go a long way. “Barry Dav­i­son (for­mer An­glo Plat­inum chair­man) was fairly ag­gres­sive,” says Ma­jor. He be­lieves Car­roll could “change it down a gear”. By giv­ing a lit­tle, An­glo Plat­inum could em­power it­self quicker.

“She may get what she wants,” says Ma­jor of Car­roll. “Re­mem­ber, Gov­ern­ment is also un­der pres­sure hav­ing to deal with for­eign per­cep­tions.”

And were 2007 to be a stel­lar year for Car­roll she could per­haps flex An­glo’s un­der­used mus­cles by dab­bling where Tra­har was loathe to go: in the merger and ac­qui­si­tion in­dus­try.

“An­glo seems to have been in a down- siz­ing mode when most of the com­pa­ra­bles have been do­ing the op­po­site,” says Bren­zel. “By con­trast, An­glo has tended to look for or­ganic growth and most of its capex

“I think the list­ing of Mondi would be the num­ber one

pri­or­ity on her list.”

has been in An­glo Plat­inum.” He won­ders whether An­glo will spread its wings.

Groe­newald says he’d pre­fer An­glo to fo­cus on or­ganic growth. “Merger and ac­qui­si­tions for their own sake don’t nec­es­sar­ily pro­vide value,” he says.

“An­glo has a good long-term pipe­line of projects but short term the pro­duc­tion growth isn’t great.”

Both African Har­vest and Coro­na­tion are un­der­weight An­glo, pre­fer­ring BHP Bil­li­ton, which it be­lieves is a cheaper op­tion on the re­sources cy­cle. “An­glo has run a bit,” says Bren­zel.

Could flex un­der­used mus­cles. Cyn­thia Car­roll


Source: I-Net Bridge

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