Randgold Resources' CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Randgold Resources Limited (GOLD)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

November 2, 2011 8:00 AM ET

Executives

Mark Bristow – CEO

Analysts

Jason Fairclough – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Cailey Barker – Numis

Andrew Lu – Barclays Capital

Charles Cooper – Oriel Securities

Presentation

Mark Bristow

Before I kick off, just a special welcome to our latest addition to our board, Andy Quinn who’s here today. I’m sure everyone in the audience knows Andy from CIBC. And he joined us as a Non-Executive Director yesterday and Andy welcome, glad to see that you made it to your first appointment.

As you know, we’re constantly looking at making sure that we are keeping in line with changing situations and refresh our board and meet all the corporate governances that we require. And on top of being a banker, Andy comes with us a very deep mining knowledge and experience. And we’re delighted to have him join us.

Moving then on to the quarter three 2011. Past quarter was a tough one and I think I actually said that last quarter as well, that it was also a time when once again we produced a strong all around performance in operations developments and the exploration. And it’s always nice to grow into a rising gold price and that helps, and so bottom-line profits were satisfying to say the least. I think one of the interviews I had this morning, the interviewer pointed out to me that we had beat the market expectations and profits, but disappointed on cost.

And that’s a dichotomy which always fascinates me and that there’s no direct linkage between total cash cost per ounce and profits. It’s really the absolute aggregate cost as we always reinforced and there’s nothing that beats bottom-line profits. And more importantly, as I’ll show you today, the key indicators, grade, production and prospectivity all point to our ability to continue delivering on our promise of sustainable and profitable growth.

The highlights of the quarter illustrate the effectiveness of Randgold Resources’ strategy, once again. And that’s really taking the long view and investing in our future. Our Tongon mine, for example, which is officially open by the President of the Côte d’Ivoire a fortnight ago is the product of 13 years of persistence in what were sometimes very difficult circumstances.

Our other new mine Gounkoto, which will be officially opened early in 2012 took only two years from discovery to production. But that discovery was made possible by all the exploratory work we have put into the Loulo region over the last decade. Similarly to Kibali, which will follow hard on the heels of Gounkoto emerged from a long and diligent search for a value-adding acquisition opportunity. And as ever, we’re still looking ahead for more.

And the annual review of our greenfield exploration has highlighted some exciting progress for the new field season and I’ll be sharing those with you in this presentation. I’ll deal with the points, this (inaudible) as I go along. But by way of introduction, I’d like to underline the fact that group production was maintained in spite of the torrential once-in-a-century rainfall over Loulo and Gounkoto; you would have seen that announcement. And that the Loulo complex actually managed to reduce its cash costs and increase its profit from mining by some 50%.

Group profit for the quarter was up 29%, adjusted for the additional ounces sold by Tongon in the second quarter that produced in the first. Our results for the quarter, as well as the nine months to September show a pleasing set of improvements, particularly when you compare the nine month of this year to the same period last year.

Over the nine months, profit rose by over 230% against the 47% increase in the average gold price received, while production increased from just over the 300,000 ounces to more than 500,000 ounces putting us in a strong position to achieve our target of close to a 70% production increase for the full year. Likewise, the 29% profit improvement for the past quarter, taking into account the Tongon adjustment from the second quarter is well ahead of the 13% increase in the average gold price over that time.

Exploration and corporate expenditure remain steady, because we’ve consistently invested in explorations since the company’s earliest days. We have now no need to join the industry’s latest scramble for answers. And despite some significant investments in our future growth in the form of capital projects at Loulo, Kibali and Tongon, our cash balance as you see here has increased again this quarter compared to the prior quarter and the prior year.

I think stepping back which I missed out on safety; just to bring you back to safety. Safety, social – our social programs and our environmental programs have and continue to be an important part of our business. As you see here, we’ve been able to bring our lost time injury frequency rate down consistently. And as we get bigger, it becomes more important then. It’s an integral part of us, retaining our social license to operate across the continent in Africa.

I, unfortunately, have to just inform you that we did have a fatality last quarter during the torrential rains at Loulo and Gounkoto. We lost one of our supervisor, he got drowned trying to cross the bridge as the water came down and flood. And that’s always very unfortunate. And despite the unnatural circumstances in which he died, we really use that again to reinforce our safety practices and constantly educate the people that work for us.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com