ANGLOGOLD Ashanti, the world's third largest gold producer, could split its global business to increase its valuation and boost returns to shareholders, its chief executive said yesterday.
Mark Cutifani also told the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit that the group wants to grow its footprint in the US, and was seeking an acquisition.
He also hopes to unwind AngloGold's hedgebook sooner than a previous target of 2014, and he forecast rising gold output.
Cutifani said AngloGold, which has 21 operations on four continents, would make a decision in the next 12 to 18 months on whether to split its portfolio.
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 US peers.
He said AngloGold was unlikely to dispose of any further assets, but would do so if it received an attractive offer.
Cutifani also said AngloGold, Africa's top gold producer, would this year seek to change its name to remove the link to global miner Anglo American Plc. Anglo no longer has 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.
"My forecast is that things will get tougher in 2010," he said.
A near 25percent increase in electricity prices in South Africa for each of the next three years would lead to a doubling of the company's energy costs, he added.
A stronger rand against the dollar could worsen the outlook for gold producers, Cutifani said. South African gold producers sell their gold in dollars and pay costs in rand, which has been strong against the greenback.
Cutifani said he was not concerned about nationalisation of mines in South Africa as demanded by some in the ruling party, because the government had said it would not grab mines.
Cutifani said gold would trade between $1000 to $1200 an ounce this year, and anything under $1100 an ounce presented the company with an opportunity to trim forward sales. - Reuters