London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 10 March 2010 – AngloGold Ashanti “’ the world’s No. 3 gold producer “’ says it is considering the possibility of splitting its international business operations in an effort to increase its valuation and boost returns to shareholders.
Making this revelation to the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit, AngloGold CEO Mark Cutifani revealed that the group wanted to grow its footprint in the Americas, and was seeking an acquisition. He also hoped to unwind AngloGold’s hedge book sooner than a previous target of 2014, and he forecast rising gold output.
Cutifani said AngloGold “’ which had 21 operations on four continents “’ would make a decision in the next 12 to 18 months on whether to split its portfolio. “If we have to slice the portfolio to get value to shareholders, then that is what we will do,” he added.
“We would like to increase our footprint, particularly in the Americas,” he said. “We believe it makes sense to do something of value in the Americas “’ an acquisition would be very attractive to us, and we remain on the lookout.”
Cutifani said the consolidation trend in the gold mining industry worldwide was likely to lead to an acquisition in North America this year. AngloGold was unlikely, however, to be bidding for any of its U.S. peers, which were valued at more than the company itself.
He said AngloGold was unlikely to dispose of any further assets, but would do so if it received an attractive offer.
Cutifani also revealed that AngloGold “’ which was Africa’s top gold producer “’ would this year seek to change its name to remove the link to global miner Anglo American. Anglo no longer had any shareholding in the South African-based gold producer.
Cutifani said rising costs and deep level mining in South Africa’s mature mines were a concern for AngloGold. “We are seeing a rise of 10% year-on-year on a structural costs basis,” he said, “and my forecast is that things will get tougher in 2010.”
He forecast Anglogold’s gold output in 2011 at between 4.8-million to 5.0-million ounces from the estimated 4.6-million ounces this year. He also said AngloGold “’ the country’s top producer of uranium, which it produces as a by-product of gold “’ would invest US$50-million (R375 million) to boost output of the energy fuel to 1.8-million pounds a year from 1.4-million pounds.