Johannesburg - AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG], the world’s
third-largest gold producer, reported a worse-than-expected drop in
fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, hit by higher costs and a slightly lower
The group's adjusted headline earnings per share for
October-December fell 35% to 76 US cents per share, from 118c in the
The results were well below the average estimate of 109.4c in a poll of five analysts by Reuters. Its share price opened 0.54%
lower, underperforming a 0.50% rise in Johanensburg’s benchmark index.
The company said it was hit by higher cash costs, higher
levels of unsold gold and the impact of a $105m provision related to
The average dollar gold price during the quarter was down
marginally to $1 684 per ounce.
But weakness in the South African currency meant in rand
terms the average price during the October-December quarter was up 12% to a
record R438 000/kg.
AngloGold gets about 40% of its output from its home base so
this helps its bottom line, but not to the same extent as smaller rivals such
as Harmony Gold Mining Company [JSE:HAR] which rely on South Africa for a far
higher percentage of their output.
The miner said for 2012 it expected gold production of 4.3
to 4.4 million ounces, virtually uchanged from the 4.33 million ounces it
recorded last year.
It declared a fourth-quarter dividend of 200 South African
cents a share, more than double the third-quarter payout of 90c. The
full-year dividend of 380c compares with the 2010 full-year dividend of
"We will continue to look to grow the dividend where
appropriate," chief executive Mark Cutifani said on a media call after the
announcement. He also said he saw the gold price poking through $2 000/oz
Spot gold edged up slightly to $1 726.00/oz in early
trade on Wednesday.