AngloGold Ashanti announced rather quietly on Monday it plans to write down between US$2.2bn – US$2.6bn in assets.
In a trading update ahead of its second quarter results, the gold miner said that given the sharp drop in gold prices seen so far in 2013 and the reduction in market cap and higher discount rates, the group has reviewed the carrying value of its mining assets and expects to impair “the net realisable value of its mining assets (including ore stock piles)”.
The group goes on to add, “Over the remainder of 2013 all business plans and associated reserves and resources will be revised and optimised to reflect the lower gold price assumptions, associated mitigation measures and management initiatives to improve margins and cash flow.”
AngloGold joins a growing list of gold majors that have been forced into significant writedowns over the past few months as gold prices have plummeted and miners have come to rue the prices paid for big development assets.
According to the statement, the impairment charges “will not impact cash flow and are excluded for the purposes of the financial covenant included within the Company’s banking agreements.”
Despite the impairments, AngloGold put a positive spin to the numbers telling the market that it produced “935,000oz at a total cash cost of between $900/oz and $920/oz in the second quarter.
“This is in line with market guidance of 900,000oz to 950,000oz at a total cash cost of $900/oz to $950/oz,” it said. Detailed operating and financial results for the three months to 30 June 2013 will be released in August 2013.
Quoted in the stock exchange statement, CEO, Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said, “It’s been a strong performance in a challenging environment from our operators and from the teams developing our two new, high-quality projects. In light of the $220/oz drop in the average quarterly gold price which will negatively impact our second quarter results, we’ve moved decisively on all fronts to sharpen our focus on efficiency and to tighten up on costs, overheads and capital.
The group also announced it is planning a fixed income roadshow. In a separate notice to the stock exchange the gold digger wrote, it has “mandated Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs to organize a series of fixed income investor meetings across Europe and the United States, which will serve as an update on AngloGold’s credit profile in view of the company’s plans to access the capital markets with a US dollar senior notes offering at a date to be announced in 2013.”