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Anglo American recovery fuelled by rising commodity prices

Mining giant Anglo American has swung to a full-year profit after it was boosted by recovering commodity prices and a cost-cutting drive.

Pre-tax profits in the 12 months to December 31 came in at 2.6 billion US dollars (£2 billion), compared to the colossal 5.5 billion US dollars (£4.4 billion) loss last year.

Revenue was broadly flat at 23.1 billion US dollars (£18.5 billion).

The group has moved to sell off a spate of assets over the past few years in an attempt to reduce debts in the face of deflated commodity prices.

However, coal and iron ore prices have bounced back and Anglo signalled a move away from a policy of sell-offs on Tuesday, saying it would retain the Australian Moranbah and Grosvenor coal assets that had been on the block.

Anglo added it would also keep hold of nickel assets that were previously set to be sold, with boss Mark Cutifani remarking "asset disposals for the purposes of deleveraging are no longer required".

Net debt was trimmed to 8.5 billion US dollars (£6.8 billion), below the firm's 10 billion US dollar (£8 billion) target.

Mr Cutifani said: "The high quality assets across our De Beers, platinum group metals and copper businesses underpin our positions in those respective markets and are the cornerstone of a more resilient and competitive Anglo American, through the economic and commodity price cycle.

"In addition, we continue to benefit from the performance of a number of other world class assets across the bulk commodities of iron ore and coal, as well as nickel."

A cost -utting drive saw capital expenditure reduce 37% to 2.5 billion US dollars, while underlying earnings rose 69% to 3.76 billion US dollars

"Our priority for 2017 is to deliver further productivity improvements while maintaining capital and cost discipline in order to be in a position to resume dividend payments for the end of 2017, and to restore an investment grade credit rating," Mr Cutifani added.

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