AngloGold Ashanti on Tuesday said it was resuming dividend payments following a hiatus of more than three years after nearly doubling free cash flow to US$278m in the year to the end of December.
The JSE-listed gold miner, which is also listed in New York, said free cash flow was nearly double the $141m achieved in 2015, after $30m in once-off costs to redeem a high yield $1.25 billion bond.
The gold miner, which has 17 gold mines in nine countries, said adjusted headline earnings came in at $143m, compared with $49m in 2015. Revenue of $4.3 billion was recorded, up from $4.2 billion the year before.
The company noted that it had also been boosted by a strong turnaround in production performance in the second half, a higher gold price (up 8 percent year-on-year) and weaker operating currencies in Argentina, Brazil and South Africa.
All-in sustaining costs came in within revised guidance range at $986 an ounce, up from $910 the year before. The miner said this reflected “continued cost discipline and weaker local currencies in some jurisdictions, offset by an increase in sustaining capital expenditure and inflation”.
Production of 3.6Moz was within the original guidance despite being negatively impacted by weaker output from the South African mines due mainly to safety-related stoppages, lower grades from Kibali, a planned decrease in head grades at Tropicana and Geita and no production contribution from Obuasi.
Both Mponeng and Moab Khotsong in South Africa delivered increased production over the prior year, along with Iduapriem and Siguiri in the continental Africa region and Sunrise Dam in Australia. Mponeng delivered the best improvement, with a 16 percent increase in production and a 14 percent decrease in all-in sustaining costs year-on-year.
The company’s chief executive officer, Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, said: “Production from our operations delivered a strong turnaround in the second half of the year. We have again generated strong cash flows despite a volatile gold price, which has further strengthened our balance sheet and improved flexibility.”
A dividend of 130 cents (approximately 10 US cents) a share was declared.