Sibanye Gold chief executive Neal Froneman is considering moving the South African miner’s primary listing to New York from 2021. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG – Sibanye Gold chief executive Neal Froneman is considering moving the South African miner’s primary listing to New York from 2021 after he curbs the company’s debt.

The surge in palladium and rhodium prices has put Sibanye on track to meet its debt-to-earnings target by the end of 2020, Froneman said on Friday. 

While the rally has strengthened South Africa’s platinum industry, power and water shortages, rising crime and onerous regulations are deterring investment, the chief executive said.

The plan to move Sibanye’s primary listing isn’t immediate and could still be two years out, after the company has sufficiently paid down its debt.

The move is driven by commercial considerations and shouldn’t be construed as leaving South Africa, where some of Sibanye’s platinum mines could operate for more than 40 years, Froneman said.

“Looking offshore for growth is just a logical extension of where we are now,” Froneman said. “No firm decision has been made, but I think if we are to grow, we would have to change our primary listing because there is no real growth in South Africa.”

Shifting Sibanye’s primary listing would expose the miner to a wider pool of investors and could also allow it to tap cheaper capital, said the chief executive, who completed the acquisition of Lonmin in May, less than three years after buying Stillwater Mining in the US. 

“If you have a decent international portfolio of assets and you change primary listing, I dare say you get a re-rating because you become more acceptable,” said Froneman.

His deliberations come as AngloGold Ashanti Ltd sells its remaining gold assets, viewed as a final step before moving its primary listing from Johannesburg.

Bloomberg