AngloGold Falls to 4-Year Low as CEO Leaves: Johannesburg Mover

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. fell to the lowest level in four years in Johannesburg trading after the third-biggest producer of the metal said Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani will leave to lead Anglo American Plc.

The stock dropped 2.8 percent to 251 rand, the lowest since Jan 15, 2009, by the close in the city. About 1.44 million shares changed hands, or 31 percent more than the stock’s three-month daily average.

Cutifani will remain CEO of Africa’s largest gold producer until March 31, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement. The company will consider both internal and external candidates as it begins the search for a successor, it said.

“If Mark Cutifani is good, then clearly Anglo’s gain is AngloGold’s loss,” Des Kilalea, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in London, said by phone. “Some of his successes are things that make the South African government feel good, like safety, reducing incidents of issues.”

AngloGold, whose largest overseas competitors are Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp., mines about a third of its metal in South Africa, where it employs about 35,000 people. The company reported its lowest injury rate on record in the third quarter through September.

AngloGold appointed Chief Financial Officer Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan and Vice President of Business and Technical Development Tony O’Neill as joint interim CEOs after Cutifani replaces Cynthia Carroll at Anglo American.

Venkatakrishnan has been at AngloGold and Ashanti Goldfields, which it bought in 2003, since 2000 and has been in his current post for seven years. O’Neill, who has worked in the mining industry since 1978, will join the AngloGold board in the next few weeks, the company said.

Spending Plans

AngloGold in November cut its dividend by half and reduced planned spending by $200 million after all of its South African mines were shut down because of unauthorized work stoppages. It also operates in countries including Mali and Australia.

The company was spun off from Anglo American after Anglo in 2005 said it would give up control of the gold business that helped build up the fortune of South Africa’s Oppenheimer family. Anglo American sold its final 11 percent stake in 2009 for $1.28 billion to billionaire hedge-fund manager John Paulson’s investment firm. Paulson & Co. is still the gold company’s largest shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The gold miner’s 30-day historical volatility, a measure of stock swings, was at 27.9 from 23.8 at the end of 2012. The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index’s 30-day volatility gauge was at 9.03 from 8.09 on Dec. 31. A higher reading means an asset’s price can have bigger moves.

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