AngloGold Ashanti Swings To H1 Loss On Job Cuts, Lawsuit

By Zandi Shabalala;

A worker pours gold at the AngloGold Ashanti mine at Obuasi, Ghana, October 23, 2003.Luc Gnago/File Photo
A worker pours gold at the AngloGold Ashanti mine at Obuasi, Ghana, October 23, 2003.Luc Gnago/File Photo

South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti reported a first-half loss on Monday on costs related to layoffs and money set aside for litigation, but stuck to its full-year targets.

Shares in Africa’s biggest gold miner were down 3.2 percent to 130 rand at 0903 GMT, while the wider sector was off 1 percent.

AngloGold said it made a headline loss per ordinary share of 22 U.S. cents in the six months to June, compared with earnings of 23 U.S. cents in the same period last year.

Headline earnings per share is the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items.

AngloGold set aside $47 million to cover the cost of cutting up to 8,500 jobs at its loss-making South African mines and made a provision of $46 million for the possible settlement of a lung disease lawsuit brought by former employees.

A class action suit, mostly relating to fatal lung disease silicosis, was filed on behalf of miners in 2012 leading rivals Harmony Gold, Sibanye Gold, Anglo American and Gold Fields to set aside money over the last month.

Anglogold said it expected capital expenditure to rise in the second half of the year after it jumped 43 percent to $454 million in the first half after the company spent more to extend the lives of its mines and reduce costs.

All-in sustaining costs rose to $1,071 per ounce, up 18 percent from a year ago owing to a stronger South African rand and Brazilian real versus the dollar. Miners pay costs in local currencies and earn revenue in dollars.

Net debt – a long-standing problem – inched up 3 percent to $2.2 billion.

Chief executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan did not rule out separating the gold miner’s South African assets from the rest of the portfolio, but said its debt remained too high.

“Our position hasn’t changed, we never say never, however the debt levels still remain significantly high to enable a clean split to happen,” he told Reuters.

Reuters cited sources on Friday as saying AngloGold was considering reviving efforts to split South African assets and list the international portfolio in London after shareholders revolted against a similar effort in 2014.

The sources said talks were at an early stage.

The miner did not change its full year guidance and still expects production to fall to 3.6-3.75 million ounces, while spending is projected at $950 million to $1.050 billion.

(Editing by Mark Potter)


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