AngloGold Ashanti has announced plans to switch its primary stock market listing to New York, a sign that Wall Street rather than London has become the preferred destination for the world’s biggest gold miners.
Under a plan set out on Friday, the world’s fourth-largest gold miner will move its primary listing from Johannesburg to New York as part of an effort to lift its valuation. The group said it would retain a secondary listing in its historic base in Johannesburg and another in Ghana.
With roots in the mining empire built by Ernest Oppenheimer more than a century ago, AngloGold’s move follows the sale of its remaining South African operations in 2020. It also comes as the London market, the traditional home to many of the world’s largest miners, tries to counter the growing pull of New York.
Chief executive Alberto Calderon said making New York its primary listing would give AngloGold access to the “world’s largest capital markets and pool of gold investors”.
“It’s such a compelling case for change — we have no operations in South Africa, a bigger pool of gold capital in New York and not tied to South African rating discount,” Calderon told the Financial Times.
While a handful of gold miners are listed in London, the world’s biggest, Newmont, is listed in New York. AngloGold says Wall Street-listed competitors trade at a significant premium.
AngloGold already has a secondary listing in New York, which the company says generates about two-thirds of the daily trading in its shares. That helped convince the company of New York’s merits, alongside what Calderon said was a fear of damaging the liquidity in its stock if it were to also have a London listing.
Gold miners are betting that New York would help them gain access to passive funds that invest in gold, which is trading near a record high.
As part of the plan, AngloGold said it would redomicile in the UK from South Africa, in part because its main holding company subsidiary has been based in the UK since 2017.
Calderon said redomiciling would also help win investor backing for switching the listing to New York because it would spare its South African shareholders from paying a tax on dividends.
After scaling back in South Africa, AngloGold’s operations are now focused elsewhere in Africa, Australia and the Americas.
The group’s decision to opt for New York is a blow to London, which has few large precious metals miners: Fresnillo, Endeavour Mining and Centamin are among the biggest. It lost Randgold when Canada’s Barrick Gold acquired the group in 2018.
AngloGold’s exit deepens the woes of South Africa’s mining industry, which is already battling persistent problems with its power supply.
South African regulators have approved its plan, the company said. The South African government has historically been reluctant to let major companies move overseas.
The miner said the move would cost it $560mn, mainly in taxes to the South African government. It expects to complete the moves, which will require the approval of 75 per cent of shareholders, in the third quarter.
AngloGold on Friday reported adjusted core earnings of $320mn in the three months to March, down 26 per cent on a year earlier, on production of 584,000 ounces.