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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
AngloGold offer for Ashanti
Ashanti people
Ghana's Ashanti people traditionally wear gold
AngloGold has made a $1.1bn (680m) bid for Ghana's Ashanti Goldfields.

If the deal goes ahead, it will give AngloGold more gold reserves than Australia's Newmont which is currently the biggest gold miner in the world.

Lonmin, the largest shareholder in Ashanti, has agreed the deal, which represents a 4% premium over the firm's closing share price on 1 August.

But the Ghanaian government, which holds a 20% golden share in Ashanti, could still veto the takeover.

"We remain very optimistic that we are the right partner and the government of Ghana is going to come to that view," said Bobby Godsell, AngloGold's chief executive.

International expansion

The government initially said it would announce whether it will allow the deal to go ahead at the end of June, but has not issued any statement subsequently.

Some sources have suggested that the government, which is being advised on the proposed merger by French bank Societe Generale, is holding out for a higher offer.

Ashanti is Ghana's biggest employer and has gold mines in six different African countries.

It is often held up as a success story of an African firm that has flourished since privatisation and now enjoys a wide base of shareholders in New York and London.

It is also one of Africa's few non-South African multinationals.

The Reuters news agency quoted Ghanaian Finance Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo as saying Ghana's government was not opposed to AngloGold's bid and had agreed with the South African firm that it would be able to hold onto its so-called golden share.

Ashanti and AngloGold are hoping for a formal response from the government by the middle of September.

Profits slump at Ashanti Goldfields
17 Jun 03  |  Business
Ghana to give up share in Ashanti
29 May 03  |  Business
AngloGold hits takeover trail
16 May 03  |  Business

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