Tue, Mar. 24, 3:30 PM
- Investors largely take in stride Freeport McMoRan's (FCX -0.7%) 84% dividend cut, apparently agreeing with analysts at Jefferies who say the cut was “sensible” because it saves the company $1.1B/year of cash.
- FCX "is not entirely out of the woods yet as macro risks clearly remain, but this dividend reduction is a step in the right direction and could indicate a bottom in Freeport shares," says the firm's Christopher LaFemina.
- The dividend was so high that investors probably knew that paying out $1.25/year might be hard to continue, but an 84% cut - particularly with the recent bounce in copper prices - is a message that FCX is "worried about more than just the next few earnings reports," 24/7's Jon Ogg writes.
- Dividend cuts are rare in the energy and materials sector, points out S&P's Howard Silverblatt, who wonders what Exxon Mobil (XOM -0.9%) will do next month when it reports earnings; after increasing its dividend for 32 straight years, Silverblatt says the more pertinent question is not if, but by how much.
Tue, Mar. 24, 8:12 AM
- Freeport-McMoRan (FCX -2.1%) PM slashes its quarterly dividend to $0.05/share from $0.3125/share in the wake of lower commodity prices, resulting in an annual yield of 1.03%.
- The dividend will be payable on May 1, to shareholders on record of Apr 15.
Fri, Mar. 20, 11:19 PM
- Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) says the five-day blockade by workers at its Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia has ended and normal operations are being resumed.
- The blockade, which began Monday and halted production at the mine, was related to a settlement reached with other employees at the end of a previous dispute and was not union-backed.
Fri, Mar. 20, 9:58 AM
- The blockade by workers at Freeport McMoRan's (FCX +2%) Grasberg mine in Indonesia extends into a fifth day with output still halted.
- FCX says it is working with the group involved in the demonstration to resolve their concerns, which relate to a settlement reached with other employees at the end of a previous dispute and is not union-backed.
- A lengthy disruption to supplies from one of the world's biggest copper mines could support benchmark metal prices that have dropped ~7% YTD.
Thu, Mar. 19, 7:54 AM
- Production has been halted at Freeport McMoRan's (NYSE:FCX) Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia, as more than 50 workers blocked an access road to the site for a fourth straight day.
- Workers began blocking the road to the site on Monday to protest against a settlement reached with other employees at the end of a previous dispute.
- Copper prices are ~2% higher on the news. as well as yesterday's dovish Fed statement that included lowered projections for interest rate increases.
- Grasberg was the world’s second-largest copper mine by capacity last year.
Wed, Mar. 18, 12:56 PM
- Indonesia extends for six months Newmont Mining's (NEM -0.2%) Indonesian copper export permit after the company gave assurances over its commitment to build a smelter with Freeport McMoRan (FCX -0.3%).
- The government had indicated earlier that NEM's copper export permit would not be renewed beyond March 19 unless it struck a deal with FCX, but the mining ministry has set NEM's export quota at 477K metric tons until Sept. 19.
Tue, Mar. 17, 5:59 PM
- Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) has hired Goldman Sachs and Barclays to help find P-E firms that will finance some of its projects, Reuters reports.
- FCX is said to be speaking now with the world's largest P-E firms, including Blackstone, Apollo and Warburg Pincus about such partnerships.
- Faced with a 20% drop in copper prices as well as a 50% plunge in oil prices, FCX had said it was seeking partners to help provide funding for its capital spending in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tue, Mar. 17, 10:19 AM
- More than a hundred workers at Freeport McMoRan's (FCX -2%) Indonesian unit have blocked an access road to one of the Grasberg copper mine for a second day, apparently to protest against a settlement reached with other employees at the end of a previous dispute.
- It is not known whether production at the mine has been hurt, but any disruption to copper supplies could support benchmark metal prices that have dropped more than 8% YTD.
Tue, Mar. 17, 8:38 AM
- A dispute between a bank and a client over advice has ended in a settlement that included an unusual payment: more advice.
- Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) will pay $10M in cash and provide $6.25M worth of investment banking advice to Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) to settle allegations it contributed to FCX having overpaid significantly for two oil and gas companies in 2013.
- Shareholders had claimed that the acquisitions were tainted by conflicts of interest, and that FCX officers and directors breached their duties by allowing the company to pay too much.
Tue, Mar. 10, 3:45 PM
- Peabody Energy (BTU -5.6%) slides sharply after Jefferies downgrades shares to Hold from Buy with a $6 price target, cut from $10, on continued concerns about domestic thermal coal fundamentals due to low natural gas prices, weakening exports, MATS related coal plant closures and increased renewable capacity.
- BTU's Australian coal business is more likely to improve in the near-term due to higher seaborne thermal coal prices, the firm says, but operating costs have not declined nearly as much as competitors due to its extensive hedging program.
- Jefferies is bearish on mining shares in the near-term, and the firm revised many of its commodity price forecasts lower, but it has placed four metals and mining stocks above the rest: Freeport McMoRan (FCX -3.5%), Rio Tinto (RIO -2.6%), First Quantum (OTCPK:FQVLF -6.8%) and Angofagasta (OTCPK:ANFGY -5.8%).
Mon, Mar. 2, 10:34 AM
- Newmont Mining's (NEM -0.3%) Indonesian copper export permit will not be renewed beyond March 19 unless it strikes a deal with Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) to invest in the latter's planned smelter, a mines ministry official says.
- NEM has said multiple studies show its Batu Hijau mine cannot sustain a smelter on its own, while fellow U.S.-based miner FCX is pushing ahead with expansion plans at Indonesia's sole copper smelter at Gresik.
- After a nine-month export tax dispute, NEM signed a deal with the government late last year that allowed for the resumption of copper concentrate exports, but the agreement is set to end unless NEM can show it is serious about domestic processing.
Mon, Feb. 23, 3:59 PM
- Freeport McMoRan (FCX -3.4%) is unlikely to sell oil, gas and copper assets in the current market, as buyers are unwilling to pay good prices for quality assets due to weak commodities prices, CEO Richard Adkerson says.
- FCX has been trying to reduce its debt, which ballooned in 2013 after it acquired two oil and gas companies, but any help from asset sales appears to be off the table for now.
Fri, Feb. 20, 2:39 PM
- Freeport McMoRan (FCX +0.2%) says it will immediately establish commercial production from its Highlander oil and gas discovery in Louisiana after obtaining "highly favorable" reservoir characteristics from a production test.
- FCX says the production test utilized expanded testing equipment and indicated a flow rate of ~75M cf/day of natural gas; in December, a test of the well reported a rate of ~43.5M cf/day.
- FCX says it has identified multiple prospects in the Highlander area, where it controls rights to 50K-plus gross acres.
Fri, Feb. 20, 9:58 AM
- Indonesia's government will start allowing miners to renew contracts earlier than two years before they expire, a move that would favor Freeport McMoran (FCX -0.6%) and its expansion plans in the country.
- FCX, which runs the Grasberg copper and gold mining complex, has for years been seeking contract certainty before investing the $15B-plus needed to turn its Indonesia asset into the world's biggest underground mine after 2016.
- FCX's current deal is due to expire in 2021 but Indonesia's energy and mineral resources minister says a government decision on an extension would be reached before by this July.
- Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) has a joint venture with FCX for a 40% share of Grasberg's production above specific levels until 2021, and 40% of all production after 2021.
Thu, Feb. 12, 11:59 AM
- Rio Tinto (RIO +2.3%) has no major M&A plans in the works, preferring to focus on building new mines rather than buying low-quality assets in the current market environment, CEO Sam Walsh says.
- The CEO says shareholders have asked whether Rio had any interest in deals, with some wondering whether the company might consider approaching Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) or Anglo American (OTCPK:AAUKF, OTCPK:AAUKY), but "we are not doing that," adding that shareholders had dismissed the idea that Rio would give Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY) "any air at all" to consider a tie-up.
- Talks are still ongoing with the Mongolian government to settle all outstanding concerns about the development of the underground Oyu Tolgoi mine, Walsh says while indicating that Rio has not offered to increase its stake in the mine.
- Walsh also says Rio will not take part in any upcoming tender process for two blocks of the massive Simandou iron ore deposit in Guinea.
- Earlier: Rio Tinto's $2B buyback signals shift in strategy
Tue, Feb. 3, 10:24 AM
- Copper prices are on track for their biggest gains since September on speculation that China would use stimulus measures to jump-start its economy and boost demand for the metal.
- Rising oil prices and Chinese stimulus speculation “have changed the focus to the upside and the short-covering has done the rest,” says Saxo Bank's Ole Hansen, adding that “energy is such a big and important part of the commodity sector, and the somewhat improved sentiment there also helps other” raw materials; aluminum and nickel also are rising to multi-week highs.
- "We’re in this perverse world where bad news is good news,” says BNP Paribas analyst Stephen Briggs, and "a lot of people are thinking China’s going to join the rest of the world and lower interest rates or [offer] some kind of monetary response."
- Raw materials companies are off to a strong start today: FCX +5.8%, BHP +3.9%, RIO +2.4%, VALE +3.9%, SCCO +3.4%.
- ETFs: JJC, DBB, JJN, JJU, JJT, CPER, BOM, RJZ, BOS, LD, BDD, JJM, FOIL, NINI, CUPM
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