Accra, Oct. 26, GNA - Government's decision on the merger of AngloGold Ashanti Limited has been vindicated, as the Company has paid the highest amount of dividend ever to the State by a mining company. Mrs Cecelia Bannerman, Minister of Mines, who said this after receiving a cheque of over 22.4 billion cedis from AngloGold on Tuesday, said:
"The amount paid by the Company is a clear demonstration of what a good Government can negotiate for its people.
"This remarkable turn around...underscores the fact that Government and indeed all shareholders in the erstwhile Ashanti Goldfields Company took the right decisions on AngloGold Ashanti merger," she said. The Minister said the merger resulted in an increase in the company's capitalization on the Ghana Stock Exchange, making the exchange the second largest in Africa.
Mrs Bannerman said due to Government's astute negotiation with AngloGold, its stock in the new company also increased by 2.658 million shares raising its stock from 2.4 per cent to 3.4 per cent, a value, which far exceeded the value of Government's 17 per cent shares in erstwhile AGC.
Besides, Government ensured that the value of Ghanaian shareholders remained at par with AgnloGold Ashanti share values on the foreign stock markets.
Mrs Bannerman expressed satisfaction with the Company's performance though, she said, the last time the Company paid dividend to Government was six years ago.
She said Government expected all other mining companies to ensure prompt payment of their dividends.
The Minister urged other mining companies to consider taking advantage of the growing opportunities at the Ghana Stock Exchange in order to help create a dynamic mining index similar to what pertained elsewhere.
Presenting the cheque, Mr Kwaku Akosah-Bempah, AngloGold Ashanti Chief Financial Officer for West Africa Region, said the dividend was for the first half year and that another one would come later. He described the dividend as an interim one and said after six years, shareholders of the former Ashanti Goldfields and now shareholders of "gold stock choices" had received their dividends together with all other shareholders.
Mr Akosah-Bempah said for AngloGold-Ashanti it was not so much the size of the amount of money involved, but the fact that the Company had returned to "winning ways" for all stakeholders.
He announced that AngloGold Ashanti had agreed to continue and even increase investments in its corporate social responsibilities and projects and programmes embarked upon by AGC would not be abandoned. In addition, AngloGold Ashanti has decided to assist the jewellery sector and plans are underway to create a gold bank for the jewellery sector to borrow from.