Shares in diversified mining company Anglo American (LSE: AAL) have risen by 5% today after it released its fourth quarter production update. Overall production increased by 3% versus the fourth quarter of 2014 and for the full year production was up 5% versus the previous year.
Within that figure there were a number of significant changes, with notable changes to production levels including a 16% fall in diamond production in the quarter, which reflects the company’s decision to reduce production in response to challenging trading conditions. And while iron ore production fell at Anglo American’s Kumba project by 12%, this was more than made up for by a fourfold increase in iron ore production at Minas-Rio. Meanwhile, platinum production fell by 1% in the quarter and copper production increased by 4% versus the final quarter of 2014.
Looking ahead, Anglo American is forecast to post a fall in its bottom line of 36% in the current year and while disappointing, the market seems to have priced this in. Evidence of this can be seen in the company’s forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 8, which indicates that its long-term upward rerating potential is significant. Certainly, rising commodity prices are required for Anglo American to make a comeback, but with a refreshed strategy and high quality asset base it could be a strong long term performer.
Also reporting today is Anglo Pacific (LSE: APF), which focuses on receiving royalties from resources projects. The main takeaway from the update is that the company is cutting its final dividend per share for 2015 to 3p which, alongside its interim dividend of 4p per share, means that it yields a still-very-high 13% at its present share price.
While disappointing on the one hand, a cut in the dividend is perhaps to be expected with the current challenging operating conditions that are being experienced in the resources sector. Despite them, Anglo Pacific’s financial performance remains relatively sound and it today reported a rise in royalty income for 2015, with it set to increase to around £8.5m-£8.8m from £3.5m in 2014. And with Anglo Pacific forecast to post an increase in earnings of 48% in the current year, its price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 0.6 holds significant appeal.
Meanwhile, precious metals producer Polymetal (LSE: POLY) could also be worth buying for the long term. That’s at least partly because it trades on a P/E ratio of just 12.8, but also because the price of gold in particular could offer growth in an otherwise challenging outlook for the mining sector. In fact, with the economic outlook continuing to be rather downbeat, investors could flock to gold as a store of wealth and boost its price level following its 5.4% rise since the turn of the year.
Furthermore, Polymetal’s recent update showed that its cash costs are falling due to the weaker Russian Rouble and Kazakh Tenge. And with free cash flow being robust and dividends being covered 2.5 times by profit, Polymetal could prove to be an upbeat long-term performer.
Peter Stephens owns shares of Anglo American. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of Anglo Pacific. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.