Saturday, December 08, 2012

Analysts downgrade Freeport over oil acquisition debt

According to a story on Mineweb, "Freeport was downgraded by Deutsche Bank from 'Buy' to 'Hold', while BMO Capital downgraded FCX to 'Market Perform.' Both Citigroup and Goldman Sachs downgraded FCX from 'Buy' to 'Neutral.' However, Standard & Poor’s affirmed its rating on Freeport-McMoRan, but revised the company outlook to 'negative' " as a consequence of Freeport's acquisition of Plains Exploration & Production Company and McMoRan Exploration Company for a total cost of $20 billion in cash and stock.

Freeport's stock price dropped sharply after the merger announcement [right, Mineweb].

 But an analysis on posted by Reuters argues that "Freeport may have had few alternatives: there simply are not many known "Tier 1" copper assets left to gobble up, particularly in accessible locations."

The Reuters story concludes that "it is becoming very difficult for companies to justify the development of many copper projects" due to ballooning costs, access to talented professionals, and difficulties in getting projects approved.   

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