Barrick Gold Corp. (TSE:ABX), the world’s biggest producer of the metal, dropped to the lowest in a month after saying it plans to divest a 13.5 percent stake in its African arm to continue to cut its portfolio of assets in the wake of the precious metal’s price slump.
The shares declined 1 percent to C$21.87 after touching C$21.75, the lowest intraday price since Feb. 13. The stock is up 17 percent this year.
Barrick will sell about 41 million shares of London-based African Barrick Gold Plc (LON:ABG) to institutional investors, the Toronto, Ontario-based company said in a statement today.
The stock being sold was valued at about 126 million pounds (C$233 million) at the close of trading in London today.
Barrick currently owns 74 percent of African Barrick. It held talks with China National Gold Group Corp. in 2012 about the sale of its majority stake. The discussions ended in January last year without agreement.
Barrick has sought ways to lift profitability and returns after gold posted last year its biggest annual slump in three decades. The company has trimmed production forecasts, cut spending and sold about $1 billion of assets in the past eight months. Barrick has also suspended construction of its delayed and over budget Pascua-Lama project on the Argentina-Chile border.
In January, African Barrick, which operates three gold mines in Tanzania, reported its first annual rise in production since the company was spun out from its parent in 2010.
African Barrick is not considered one of Barrick Gold’s core assets.