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27.10.2004 Business & Finance

Anglogold Deal Yields Dividends

By Chronicle

Govt. receives ¢22.4bn in six months

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI Limited yesterday presented an interim dividend of ¢22.4 billion to the government, representing its 10% stake.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Mines, Mrs. Cecilia Bannerman said AngloGold Ashanti, the first mining company to join the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), has shown its corporate growth after its merger with Ashanti Gold.

The minister said government's stake in the merged company had increased by 2,658,000 shares, raising Ghana's percentage stake from 2.4% to 3.4%.

"The value of this far exceeds the value of government's 17% shares in the erstwhile Ashanti Goldfields Company."

She stated that Angolgold Ashanti shareholders in Ghana had also received their cheques and hoped that in keeping with the dividend paying tradition of the former Anglogold, further payments would be forthcoming.

Mrs. Bannerman said the turnaround in the fortunes of all shareholders, was underscored by the fact that government and all shareholders in the erstwhile AGC, took the right decision to merge with Anglogold.

The minister disclosed that the government expected all other mining companies to ensure prompt payment of their dividends, especially in the wake of the relatively high gold prices on the markets these days.

She urged the mining companies to take advantage of the growing opportunities at the GSE and follow Anglogold Ashanti's example to create a dynamic mining index similar to what obtains on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE).

This, she said, would give the ordinary Ghanaian the opportunity to directly share in the financial successes of mining companies operating in the country.

She added that, mining companies should strive to promote the industry's best practices in all areas of their operations in order to eradicate the negative perception of mining.

"They should strive to promote mining as a vehicle for sustainable economic and social development, through appropriate corporate social responsibility programmes and alternative livelihood projects in the mining communities."

The Chief Financial Officer of Anglogold Ashanti, West Africa, Mr. Kwaku Akosah Bempah, explained that his company had had one of the most fruitful and enduring relationships with the ministry for a number of important reasons.

Mr. Bempah said Anglogold Ashanti has supported a massive programme of capacity building at a critical time in the economic history of the country. The company helped create the La Beach Hotel, built and maintained the Len Clay sports complex.

According to him, because of the company's performance, an EU delegation had come to Ghana to support the mining sector with 40million euros.

Touching on royalties, he said the erstwhile AGC paid $11.1 million last year to the government to be distributed according to laid down procedures.

He announced that shareholders who had not received their dividend for the past six years had finally received them and the company had started the long process which would end with the full development of the Obuasi Deeps in some ten years from now.

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