Geneva, Switzerland — 23 November 2012 – AngloGold Ashanti Limited “’ the world’s third-largest producer of the precious metal “’ retains the option of splitting off its South African operations into a separate company should investors undervalue the assets it holds.
“We have no plans today to split the business but all options must remain open,” CEO Mark Cutifani said in an interview in Geneva. “If at end of the day we can’t get true value reflected for the global mix, then we have to look at all options. We’ve become a global company. South Africa is important, but it’s not critical,” he told Bloomberg News.
AngloGold “’ competing with Barrick Gold Corporation and Newmont Mining Corporation “’ mines about a third of its metal and employs about 35,000 people in South Africa. The contribution will decline to about 20% by 2016, even though the West Wits and Vaal River operations will remain “high-quality,” according to Cutifani.
A spate of strikes across South African industry idled all of AngloGold’s mines in the nation, spurring the company to cut its third-quarter dividend in half and annual spending plans by US$200 million. Quarterly output fell 4% to 1.03Moz as a result of the strikes. Weaker production led Standard & Poor’s to say on 18 October that it may cut AngloGold’s debt rating to junk.
“We’ve taken aggressive steps to protect our flexibility and we only hope that the rating agencies look at those steps in a constructive way,” Cutifani said. “With our global portfolio and flexibility on the balance sheet, we’re in good shape.”
Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.