Is Nh­leko head­ing for glory in the min­ing sec­tor?

Finweek English Edition - - IN THE NEWS - BY DAVID MCKAY

Phuthuma Nh­leko, founder of Pem­bani Group and a nonex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of An­glo Amer­i­can, sat out the pre­vi­ous De­cem­ber’s board meet­ing of the UK min­ing group ow­ing to a “conf lict of in­ter­est” – a mod­er­ately in­ter­est­ing fact un­less, of course, it can form the ba­sis for some fas­ci­nat­ing spec­u­la­tion as to how he plans to grow his busi­ness em­pire.

The hy­poth­e­sis is that Nh­leko has an in­ter­est in An­glo Amer­i­can’s coal as­sets which may have been dis­cussed at the De­cem­ber meet­ing. All An­glo says on the mat­ter is dis­closed in its an­nual re­port. The coal busi­ness was dis­cussed at An­glo’s July 2014 board meet­ing and while there was no di­rect coal dis­cus­sion in De­cem­ber, it did have “bud­get and busi­ness plans 2015-2017” on the agenda.

An­glo Amer­i­can de­clined to com­ment when asked by Finweek if Nh­leko’s ab­sence was re­lated to a pos­si­ble in­ter­est in the group’s coal mines. Pem­bani Group CEO Kennedy Bun­gane did not re­turn mes­sages left via email and phone.

We do know, how­ever, that An­glo is a seller of some of its ther­mal coal as­sets sup­ply­ing Eskom judg­ing by com­ments made to this mag­a­zine by An­glo CEO Mark Cu­ti­fani in Fe­bru­ary. Added to the non-core mines owned by An­glo Amer­i­can Plat­inum, An­glo could raise $ 4bn (R48bn) from its var­i­ous di­vest­ments and help eat into its net debt, which is trou­bling the $12bn (R144bn) mark.

It is thought that An­glo Amer­i­can is in­ter­ested in sell­ing the Kriel, New Den­mark and New Vaal mines which com­prise the bulk of An­glo’s Eskomonly sup­ply. In 2014, New Vaal pro­duced 16.7m tons, while New Den­mark and Kriel sup­plied 3.8m tons and 6.9m tons re­spec­tively. The only other Eskom-only coal mines owned by An­glo are Ma­fube (1.7m tons) and Zibulo (2.6m tons).

In May last year, Nh­leko’s Pem­bani

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