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07-08-2012 12:40:00

Xstrata Able to Fund Capex Program and Maintain Dividend - CFO

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By Alex MacDonald

LONDON--Anglo Swiss miner Xstrata PLC (XTA.LN) has the capacity to complete its current capital expenditure program without losing its investment grade rating or sacrificing its progressive dividend policy, the company's chief financial officer said Tuesday.

"Clearly, my primary priority was to enter this period of accelerated capital spend with a balance sheet that could sustain very extreme headwinds in terms of pricing," Trevor Reid told analysts in a call. "Given our outlook for commodities, even if you run a downside case, we still think we will be able to maintain a progressive dividend."

Xstrata said Tuesday that it would defer about $1 billion in capital expenditure this year, but that this wouldn't have any effect on the commissioning schedule of its projects.

It expects to make up for the deferred spending by increasing its capital spend by $400 million in 2013 and $600 million beyond that.

"We haven't cancelled any projects and we haven't moved back the scheduling for commissioning of any approved projects," Xstrata's Chief Executive Mick Davis told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.

Xstrata now expects to spend $7.2 billion on capital expenditure in 2012, but said that the timing of its approved projects hasn't changed.

Mr. Reid told analysts that the company has very little flexibility in terms of adjusting its approved capital program.

"Obviously we could [adjust that] but it would be expensive to do and I think value destructive," he said, adding that the company does have flexibility in terms of the sequencing of its unapproved projects.

Write to Alex MacDonald at alex.macdonald@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 07, 2012 06:40 ET (10:40 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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