AngloGold Ashanti returns to profitability

AngloGold Ashanti, the third-largest producer of the metal, returned to profit after the price of bullion rose for the first quarter in four.

Adjusted headline earnings, which exclude one-time items, were $576-million, or $1.48 a share, in the three months ended September 30 from a loss of $135-million, or $0.35 a share, in the previous quarter, the Johannesburg-based company said.

The company, with 21 operations in 10 countries, is cutting jobs, spending and exploration and slowing production at higher-cost mines as it adjusts to a gold price down 22% this year. In September, AngloGold said it had started cheaper output from operations in Democratic Republic of Congo and Australia earlier than planned. In the same month, it settled wage increases that ended a 48-hour strike in South Africa, where it produced 33% of its gold in the second quarter.

"We've delivered a decisive response to the lower gold price with all operating regions showing better production and we’ve seen cost improvements at every level," chief executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said.

The company produced 1.04-million ounces in the three months ended September 30, more than a forecast of 950 000 ounces to 1-million ounces. Output was 935 000 ounces in the second quarter. The price of bullion rose 7.7% in the period.

Total cash costs dropped 10% to $809 an ounce, better than the forecast of $860 to $890. The average price of the precious metal was $1 328.45 in the third quarter compared with $1 419.69 in the previous three months.

AngloGold maintained its July estimate for full-year production of 4-million ounces to 4.1-million ounces. – Bloomberg

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