AngloGold Ashanti chief executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan. File image: Independent Media.

Johannesburg - AngloGold Ashanti, the world’s third-biggest gold producer, said first-quarter profit more than doubled after capital spending dropped 43 percent.

Adjusted earnings excluding one-time items were $119 million in the three months ended March 31, compared with $45 million in the previous quarter, the Johannesburg-based company said today in a statement.

Capital expenditure dropped to $274 million in the period, from $477 million.

AngloGold, with 21 operations in 11 countries, has outperformed larger rivals Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining in the past year as it reduced costs at its corporate office while increasing production with two new mines in Australia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Even so, the company has yet to reinstate the dividend that it cut in August in response to a gold price that is 23 percent lower than at the beginning of 2013.

“Our operations have delivered another strong performance and we continue to manage costs aggressively,” chief executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said in the statement.

The company produced 1.05 million ounces in the quarter compared with 1.22 million ounces three months earlier.

It received an average gold price of $1,290 an ounce, 1.5 percent more than the earlier period.

AngloGold forecast output of 1.02 million ounces to 1.06 million ounces for the quarter ending in June, it said. - Bloomberg News