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Africa Business News of Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Source: bloomberg.com

South Africa’s PIC says Gold M&A must produce local benefits

Africa’s biggest fund manager and a key investor in South African gold companies said any consolidation in the sector must benefit the country as well as shareholders.

The Public Investment Corp., which manages 1.91 trillion rand ($128 billion) of mainly South African government worker pensions, has a broader mandate than purely shareholder returns, said Mdu Bhulose, portfolio manager for mining and resources at the money manager.

It also considers potential job losses, the welfare of communities in which mining companies operate as well as the interests of the broader South African economy, he said. That will affect the way it assesses, proposals, he said.

Bhulose’s comments come amid speculation that Johannesburg-based Anglogold Ashanti Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd., could be takeover targets for foreign buyers because of their relatively low valuations. Neal Froneman, the chief executive officer of South African gold and platinum miner Sibanye Stillwater Ltd., has said the three companies should combine to avoid being bought by companies based elsewhere.

“Is this going to be a value destructive deal for the country?,” Bhulose said of the PIC’s approach to potential takeovers in an interview last week. “We look at returns, but also what impact it will have for all other stakeholders.”

The PIC is the biggest shareholder in AngloGold, holding 11.9%, and the second-largest in Gold Fields with 9.6%. In Sibanye, its 15.9% holding is the biggest of any investor.

Newmont Corp., the world’s biggest gold miner by market value, has a price-to-earnings ratio that’s more than double both AngloGold and Gold Fields, highlighting the discount at which the South African producers trade.

While AngloGold and Gold Fields have shifted their focus to more profitable operations elsewhere in Africa, Australia and the Americas, they retain their primary listings on Johannesburg’s stock exchange.

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