AngloGold shifts primary listing to the US, completing South Africa exit

A small toy figure and gold imitation are seen in front of the AngloGold Ashanti logo in this illustration taken November 19, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Nelson Banya and Felix Njini

(Reuters) -Miner AngloGold Ashanti will move its primary listing to New York from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to get access to a larger pool of capital and reduce the risk associated with South Africa, it said on Friday.

The gold miner has shifted its focus to more lucrative mines in Ghana, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Australia and the Americas as mining in South Africa becomes more difficult and costly due to geological challenges posed by mining some of the world’s deepest gold deposits.

AngloGold, whose forerunner was founded by industrialist Ernest Oppenheimer a century ago, completed the sale of its South African mines in 2020. The company will also move its corporate base to the United Kingdom but will maintain the South African office.

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“There are strategic reasons why we did this. By far the largest pool of gold capital is in the U.S. and it was clear that a secondary listing incorporating South Africa was restricting access to that pool of capital,” CEO Alberto Calderon told Reuters in an interview.

He added that two-thirds of AngloGold stock volumes were already being traded in New York, where the company has listed depository receipts.

Calderon said rating agencies linked AngloGold’s credit rating to that of South Africa, which is struggling with severe power cuts that are souring investor sentiment in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

“We have outgrown South Africa,” Calderon said, adding that a primary listing in the United States was aligned to its development of four greenfield projects in Nevada, which will take AngloGold’s annual output close to 3 million ounces.

The plan to move AngloGold’s primary listing will be put to a shareholders’ vote and requires at least 75% support from investors, Calderon said on a conference call.

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He again ruled out AngloGold pursuing M&A deals, saying most gold mergers in the recent past have not created value.

“It’s not impossible, it’s just about really trying to understand what are the synergies and how you can bring value to shareholders. What you cannot get carried (away) about is … thinking that larger is better,” he said.

Calderon said Newmont Corporation’s $20 billion bid to acquire Australia’s Newcrest Mining was likely to succeed.

“I think the Newmont-Newcrest deal is interesting. It will go through, Newmont has to do it. Sustaining a 6 million-ounce operation is extraordinarily difficult. I think this will help them do so,” he said.

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