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02.06.2003 Business & Finance

Randgold denies Ashanti offer made

By Reuters
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Roger Kebble, the chairman of Randgold Resources Ltd, said on Friday his company had not made an offer for Ghana-based miner Ashanti Goldfields.

"We have not made an offer for Ashanti," Kebble told Reuters.

His denial followed an earlier report that quoted a Ghanaian minister as saying that Randgold had put in a bid for Ashanti Goldfields.

This would have opened a bidding war with its larger rival AngloGold Ltd. A merger between the partly government-owned Ashanti and AngloGold would create the world's biggest gold producer, with combined annual output of 7.6 million ounces. AngloGold has offered 26 of its own shares for every 100 Ashanti shares.

Analysts said they believed a merger with AngloGold would benefit Ashanti's development more than a tie with the smaller Randgold. They expected the world's second biggest gold producer to come back with a sweetened offer if necessary.

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