AngloGold may switch South Africa listing for London or Toronto

By Dinesh Nair, Thomas Biesheuvel, Loni Prinsloo and Ruth David

(Bloomberg) – AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. is considering listing its shares in either London or Toronto in a move that could see the company hive off its remaining South African operations, according to people familiar with the situation.

While no final decision has been made, the world’s third-largest gold producer has been discussing the plan internally and with advisers, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private.

AngloGold is currently listed in Johannesburg and has depository receipts that trade in New York. The producer favours a London listing, the people said, though it’s unlikely to happen before 2020. As part of these deliberations, the company is looking at ways to exit the existing South African operations before moving the listing, they said.

A spokesman for AngloGold declined to comment.

The move would be the latest iteration of a plan that the company has mooted for years. Yet in 2014, it faced an investor backlash, including from hedge-fund billionaire John Paulson, when the plan involved a $2bn share sale to help cut its debt. That’s unlikely to be on the table this time as it has made big cuts to borrowings.

The company, now under the leadership of Kelvin Dushnisky, a Barrick Gold Corp. veteran, also looks very different from four years ago. AngloGold has become increasingly global, with only about 13% of its output from South Africa after selling mines to stem losses in the country. That’s down from 43% in 2007. Its other mines stretch from Australia to Argentina and Ghana.

Listing in London would give AngloGold exposure to a big pool of investors with very few options to buy into gold equities. Randgold Resources Ltd., Europe’s biggest gold stock, is being acquired by Barrick, and Barrick unit Acacia Mining Plc’s future in London is also uncertain. That would leave Fresnillo Plc as the only major and liquid precious metal miner listed in Europe.