Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Class B Earnings Call Nuggets: Indonesia Prospects and Non-Core Divestitures Outlook

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Class B (NYSE:FCX) recently reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Indonesia Prospects

Sal Tharani – Goldman Sachs: I wanted to ask you on Indonesia, a couple of negotiations you are involved in and one is the negotiations with the government about the extension of COW and the other one is the impending labor contract coming up for renewal in September. I was wondering on the government side if it’s worth negotiating or coming off conclusion before the election next year, or do you think it’s better to wait for the new government just in case there is a big change over there?

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Richard C. Adkerson – President and CEO: Well, Sal, we’ve been working hard to advance our discussions with the government to deal with its review of our Contract of Work, and to get the process of the extension of our contract formally approved by the government. As you know, our contract provides us rights to extend the contract on its existing turns beyond its original term ending in 2021 to 2041. We believe it would be best for all of us; the Government of Indonesia, the Province, the workforce, and everyone to get these issues resolved as quickly as possible. And we have been working towards that end with that goal. The government officials have expressed a similar goal and we’ve had productive discussions, but the process has not been organized in a way that has led to a conclusion yet. We are continuing the discussions. I’ll tell you, now we’ve made progress in finding some mutual acceptable ground on a number of the issues. You’re right; the election is – for the President is scheduled for next year. At this point, Indonesia is an established country with a democratically elected government, and so, there is expected to be a continuity in the way the Company operates and deals with investors like ourselves. So, we’re going to continue to work to get this done as quickly as possible and recognizing the challenges of getting decisions made as we get closer to the election.

Sal Tharani – Goldman Sachs: How about on the labor side? Have you started working…?

Richard C. Adkerson – President and CEO: The labor side; okay, excuse me, Sal. The labor side is – the union is now getting organized under Indonesian law. There has to be new CLA agreements, labor agreement every two years, and our current contract expires this fall. The formal process of discussions begins May 1st, and the initial process is one of exchanging information and having interaction with the union leadership. So, the union and ourselves are getting prepared for that. Union leaders, community leaders, and others are all mentioning a goal of avoiding a strike this year and that’s certainly our objective, and we will begin that process formally on May 1.

 

Non-Core Divestitures Outlook

Paretosh Misra – Morgan Stanley: Two questions. One, as you look ahead beyond the pending merger, do you think are there any non-core assets in your current portfolio that you perhaps would be open to divest?

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Richard C. Adkerson – President and CEO: We over time always review assets, see what makes sense and what doesn’t makes sense. At this point, we have not made any decisions to sell the assets. We like the mix that’s there. So, there is nothing that’s been decided yet to target any particular sales, but we will be working with our management team and our Board to assess what would make the best structure going forward.

Paretosh Misra – Morgan Stanley: Then second and last on Cerro Verde. Could you talk a bit more about your capital spending plans? In other words, what are the major spending years, 2014 or ’15?

Kathleen L. Quirk – EVP, CFO and Treasurer: Paretosh, this is Kathleen. The CapEx will be spent – now that we’re in construction, it will be spent over the next ’13, ’14, ’15 kind of evenly and we will complete the project towards the end of ’15 or early ’16 to get to the rates. But in terms of what’s left to spend, I think you can assume it’s split over those years equally.