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8.27地质上还是地理上?

(2011-09-04 19:27:11)
标签:

斯特拉

英美

必和必拓

采矿业

力拓

经济学人

the

economist

财经

分类: 商业

Mining
采矿

Geology or geography?
地质上还是地理上?

Miners should spread their risks across countries as well as minerals
采矿业应当通过投资不同国家和矿产来分散风险。

8.27地质上还是地理上?

THE past half-dozen years have been kind to miners. China is gobbling up minerals as fast as they can dig them up. Commodity prices have surged, dipping only temporarily after the financial crisis of 2008. The doldrums of the 1990s are a distant memory. 
过去的六年,采矿业有福了。中国如饥似渴地开采矿产,大宗商品价格除了2008年金融危机期间短暂下跌之外长期居高不下,90年代的不景气已经成为遥远的回忆。
 
Well, almost. The share prices of big mining firms have wobbled in recent weeks, as jitters about the global economy have intensified. But profits are ballooning. On August 24th BHP Billiton, the world’s largest miner, unveiled record annual profits of $23.6 billion. Not long ago Rio Tinto, another Anglo-Australian giant, reported record profits for the first half of the year. The other big global miners—Vale, Xstrata and Anglo American—are raking in mammoth sums too. 
基本,如此。出于对全球经济紧缩的担忧,大型采矿公司的股价近几周经历了震荡。但是,盈利依然扶摇直上。8月24日,全球最大的矿业巨头必和必拓公布了高达236亿美元的创纪录年利润。不久前,另一英澳矿业巨头力拓的上半年利润也刷新了历史记录。此外,大型国际采矿企业,比如淡水河谷、斯特拉塔和英美资源等,也都在飞速吸金。
 
Investors should be celebrating. But Rio missed analysts’ forecasts and investors were quick to question the company’s strategy. Their main concern is that Rio earned nearly 80% of its profits from a single commodity: iron ore. That makes it vulnerable to price swings, and it is not alone. Vale, a Brazilian miner, gets a hefty 60% of its revenues from iron ore. And last year it sold most of its aluminium business, thus putting all its eggs in an iron basket. 
投资者自当庆祝,然而力拓的表现与分析师的预测大相径庭,并且投资者也很快开始质疑公司的策略。他们主要的质疑在于:力拓将近80%的盈利来源于单一商品——铁矿石,这使得公司对于价格波动的应对能力过于脆弱。这并非孤例,巴西采矿巨头淡水河谷高达60%的收益也来自于铁矿石,并且这家公司去年刚出手了大部分的铝业业务,将所有的“蛋”都放到了“铁”篮子里。
 
There are two theories as to how miners should spread their risks. One is that they should diversify by geology. That is, they should dig up lots of different minerals, just in case the price of one of them collapses. That was the thinking behind the mega-merger that created BHP Billiton in 2001. It also explains why Xstrata and Anglo American operate so many different kinds of mines. 
对于采矿业应如何分散风险,目前有两种理论。一种是地质上的分散: 矿业公司应该开发种类繁多的矿物,以防某一种矿物价格暴跌。这也正是促成必和必拓于2001年诞生的大规模兼并背后的逻辑,同时也解释了斯特拉塔和英美资源缘何运作多种矿产的业务。
 
A rival theory holds that miners should worry more about geographical diversity than the geological sort. Some analysts believe that because China’s appetite for minerals is growing so fast—it already consumes around two-fifths of the world’s output of industrial metals—prices can only go up. They talk of a “supercycle” of 20-25 years of high demand. 
与之相对的理论认为,采矿业更应该担心地理上的分散而不是地质上的。一些分析师相信,价格只会继续上扬:因为即使已经消费了大约世界2/5的产量,中国对矿产的需求增长依然强劲,他们称之为 20-25年高需求的“超周期”。
 
The big threat now is not that prices will fall but that governments will seek to grab a greater share of miners’ profits, predicts Grant Thornton, a consultancy. So miners should spread their political risk by digging in multiple countries. 
根据咨询公司均富国际的预测,目前最大的威胁并不在于矿物价格会跌,而是政府企图从矿业的利润中分一大杯羹。因此,采矿业更应该通过在不同的国家开采开来分散政治上的风险。
 
BHP is doing well by following the first theory. It wants to become a large supplier of potash, a base for fertilisers, and recently spent $12.1 billion on Petrohawk, an American shale-gas firm, to add to an energy business that already accounts for a fifth of its profits.
必和必拓是第一种理论的信徒,并且做得不错。它力图成为最大的碳酸钾(一种肥料的原料)提供商,并且近期通过投资121亿美元在一家美国石灰岩-天然气公司Petrohawk来扩张其能源业务,虽然能源业务已经占了其利润的1/5。
 
But the second theory is gaining followers. Several cash-strapped African governments are looking hungrily at miners’ bulging moneybags. Tanzanian politicians are mulling a supertax on miners. Namibia and Zimbabwe have plans for the “indigenisation” of mining assets—ie, forcing miners to sell or hand them over to locals. Peru’s new government pledged to levy a windfall tax, but has since agreed merely to negotiate a better deal for its treasury. 
但是第二种理论正在吸引越来越多的信徒。几个资金短缺的非洲政府正对采矿业鼓起的荷包垂涎三尺。坦桑尼亚的政客正在讨论对采矿业征收特别税,纳米比亚、津巴布韦已经准备对矿产进行本土化,也就是强迫矿业公司将业务出售或者移交给本地人。秘鲁新政府已经决定开征额外的税收,虽然后来同意稍作协商以期达成更好的效果。
 
Trouble can arise in unexpected places: in 2010 Australia’s government tried to impose a mining supertax. A campaign by big miners forced a climb down and cost the prime minister his job, but Australia will now slap a tax on iron ore and coal mining. 
麻烦不期而至,2010年澳洲政府企图开征采矿附加税。虽然大型采矿公司力促政府达成了让步,也因此使得首相下台,但是现在针对铁矿石和煤的新税还是要通过了。
 
Anglo American illustrates the dangers of geographical concentration. The firm was originally South African, but moved its headquarters to London in 1999. It still relies on South African assets for 40% of its profits, however. Whenever a South African politician talks about nationalisation, its shares react as if whacked with a shovel. One ruling-party firebrand talks of seizure without compensation. His views will probably not prevail, but Anglo is investing heavily in Latin America and elsewhere, just in case. 
英美资源正好反映了地理上过度集中的风险。这家公司发迹于南非,1999年将其总部迁至伦敦,但是迄今其40%的利润依然来源于南非的资产。每当南非的政客讨论矿产国有化的时候,它的股价就如同遭受了重击。一个执政党的激进分子甚至扬言要无偿没收。这种观点当然尚非主流,但是英美资源已经开始大力投资于拉丁美洲和其他地方,以防万一。
 
Miners have so much cash that they are sure to splurge on further acquisitions. To guard against future adversity, they would be wise to seek both kinds of diversity. For political winds are as unpredictable as swings in commodity prices. 
采矿业拥有巨额的现金可用于进一步的兼并。为未雨绸缪,明智的做法是双管齐下,因为政治和商品价格一样飘忽不定,难以预测。

 

原文:The Economist    翻译:巩子笠    校对:胡心云

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