Johannesburg - Africa's top bullion producer, AngloGold Ashanti, reported an almost 40 percent decline in full year earnings for 2013 as the precious metal's spot price posted its biggest drop in three decades, the company said on Wednesday.

AngloGold said full-year adjusted headline earnings were $599 million (R6.6 billion), or 153 US cents per share, compared with $988 million or 255 US cents per share in 2012.

But in the three months to the end of December, adjusted headline earnings amounted to $164 million, a 49 percent improvement on the previous quarter's $110 million.

The company also said it would not declare a final dividend “as it has elected to prioritise its cash flow at this stage for debt repayment and for the completion of existing capital growth projects.”

AngloGold's fall in full-year earnings came despite a 4 percent increase in production to 4.105 million ounces, the company's first annual rise in output in nine years. - Reuters