SOURCE: AngloGold Ashanti

AngloGold Ashanti

February 17, 2011 01:00 ET

AngloGold Ashanti's $294m Profit Follows Hedge Elimination; Forecasts Growth

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwire - February 17, 2011) - AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU) posted adjusted headline earnings* of $294m during the fourth quarter after its operations in South Africa, Argentina and Guinea posted strong production results and elimination of the company's hedge book in October boosted cash flow.

"As long as the hedge book was in place, we were fighting with one hand tied behind our backs," Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani said. "Now that we're selling our gold at spot prices and entrenching business improvements across the organization, we're spinning off significant cash flow."

The result represents strong growth in underlying profitability given that the previous quarter's adjusted headline earnings* of $303m were boosted by a once-off credit of $84m. Cash flow generated from the company's operating activities in the three months to December 31, excluding hedge buy-back costs, surged 60% to $679m.

Since AngloGold Ashanti's new strategy was launched at the end of March, 2008, when the company had almost 12Moz committed under its legacy hedging programme, those contracts have been eliminated, the balance sheet strengthened and wide ranging operational improvements made across its operating portfolio. The company has also approved the first greenfield project development in more than a decade, at its Tropicana deposit in Western Australia.

Production was 1.148Moz at a total cash cost of $672/oz in the three months to Dec. 31, compared with 1.162Moz at $643/oz the previous quarter, and guidance of 1.14Moz at $675/oz assuming an exchange rate of 6.75 rand to the dollar.

The South African operations delivered another good performance, maintaining production of 476,000oz despite the sale of the Tau Lekoa mine during the September quarter. The result was helped by an excellent safety performance, which allowed for better operational continuity. Cerro Vanguardia increased production 4% to 50,000oz and improved total cash costs to $357/oz, while production from Siguiri rose 15% to 71,000oz from the previous quarter.

The final tranche of the accelerated buy-back of the company's outstanding hedge positions was completed on Oct. 7 and $2.64bn was spent at an average price of $1,300/oz. This allows AngloGold Ashanti to sell its gold at market prices, allowing it to better fund its organic growth projects which are expected to add about 1Moz to current production over the next five years.

Production in 2011 is anticipated at between 4.55Moz and 4.75Moz at a total cash cost of $660/oz to $685/oz, assuming an average exchange rate of 7.11 rand to the dollar and oil at $95 a barrel. This represents a return to growth after six years of declining production. The first quarter, which traditionally has the lowest output following the Christmas break in South Africa, is expected to be 1.04Moz at a total cash cost of $675/oz to $700/oz, assuming 7 rand to the dollar and oil at $95 a barrel.

AngloGold Ashanti posted a reserve of 71.2Moz at the end of 2010, more than replacing its production during the year. The reserve was calculated at $850/oz, considerably lower than the price used by the company's North American peers. Its resource calculated at US$1,100/oz of 220Moz of gold was little changed from 2009.

*Excludes cost of accelerated hedge buy-back


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Certain statements made in this communication, including, without
limitation, those concerning the economic outlook for the gold mining
industry, expectations regarding gold prices, production, cash costs and
other operating results, growth prospects and outlook of AngloGold
Ashanti's operations, individually or in the aggregate, including the
completion and commencement of commercial operations of certain of
AngloGold Ashanti's exploration and production projects, the completion of
announced mergers and acquisitions transactions, AngloGold Ashanti's
liquidity and capital resources, and expenditure and the outcome and
consequences of any litigation proceedings or environmental issues, contain
certain forward-looking statements regarding AngloGold Ashanti's
operations, economic performance and financial condition. Although
AngloGold Ashanti believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-
looking statements are reasonable, no assurance can be given that such
expectations will prove to have been correct. Accordingly, results could
differ materially from those set out in the forward-looking statements as a
result of, among other factors, changes in economic and market conditions,
success of business and operating initiatives, changes in the regulatory
environment and other government actions including environmental approvals
and actions, fluctuations in gold prices and exchange rates, and business
and operational risk management. For a discussion of certain of these
factors, refer to AngloGold Ashanti's annual report for the year ended 31
December 2009, which was distributed to shareholders on 30 March 2010.  The
company's annual report on Form 20-F, was filed with the Securities and
Exchange Commission in the United States on April 19, 2010 and as amended
on May 18, 2010. AngloGold Ashanti undertakes no obligation to update
publicly or release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to
reflect events or circumstances after today's date or to reflect the
occurrence of unanticipated events.  All subsequent written or oral
forward-looking statements attributable to AngloGold Ashanti or any person
acting on its behalf are qualified by the cautionary statements herein.

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