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AngloGold Ashanti cuts dividend on wider losses in Q4, FY'17

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.'s loss attributable to shareholders for the fourth quarter of 2017 widened to US$73 million, or 18 U.S. cents per share, from a loss of US$7 million, or 2 cents apiece, in the same quarter a year earlier. The company had flagged swinging to a full-year loss in a January trading statement due to the impact of several one-off items.

The further plunge into the red prompted a cut to the full-year dividend to 70 South African rand per share from 130 rand apiece for 2016.

Gold income in the three months to end-December 2017 increased to US$1.17 billion, from US$1.03 billion in the prior-year quarter, on the back of higher gold sales volumes and prices, according to the Feb. 20 statement.

The company sold about 1 million ounces of gold at an average price of US$1,276 per ounce in the quarter, compared to sales of 945,000 ounces at an average US$1,216 per ounce a year ago.

Production in the three months increased to about 1 million ounces, from 983,000 ounces in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Meanwhile, all-in sustaining costs for the period declined year over year to US$1,006 per ounce, from US$1,047 in the prior year quarter.

The company's capital expenditure in the quarter decreased to US$248 million from US$282 million a year ago.

Meeting the recent guidance for the full year, AngloGold swung to a loss attributable to shareholders of US$191 million, or 46 cents apiece, from a year-ago profit of US$63 million, or 15 cents per share.

The company recognized negative special items in the year, including impairments, retrenchment and settlement costs totaling US$438 million, compared to US$42 million of negative special items in 2016.

Gold production in 2017 increased 4% year over year to 3.8 million ounces, beating the year's guidance. All-in sustaining costs in the year averaged at US$1,054 per ounce, compared to US$986 per ounce in 2016.

Capital expenditure in the year increased to US$953 million, from US$811 million a year ago.

In 2018, AngloGold expects to produce 3.33 million to 3.45 million ounces of gold at all in sustaining costs of US$990 per ounce to US$1,060 per ounce.

Total CapEx in the year is estimated between US$800 million to US$920 million.

Depreciation and amortization in 2018 is expected at US$775 million, interest and finance costs are estimated at US$140 million, and other operating expenses are forecast at US$90 million in the year.