Barrick's Bristow: from $13 billion to zero net debt company in seven years
(Kitco News) - In the face of challenges across all regions, notably the Covid-19 pandemic, Barrick Gold (NYSE:GOLD)(TSX:ABX) met all its key performance indicators in 2020 and at the same time made significant progress towards achieving its key objectives, said president and chief executive Mark Bristow in the company's 2020 annual report published today.
"The effectiveness of Barrick's ESG strategy – which is powered at all levels by a long-established partnership philosophy and a close relationship with all stakeholders, from investors to host communities – was a key factor in the past year's performance. This was particularly evident in our successful Covid-19 containment programs, which buffered the impact of the pandemic on our business and people, and also enabled us to provide much needed and welcomed support to our host countries," noted Bristow.
Bristow added that since the announcement of the Randgold merger the Barrick share price had grown by 118% by the end of 2020 against a 92% increase in the GDX. The quarterly dividend has been trebled and the Board has recommended that an additional $750 million of surplus cash be returned to shareholders as a return of capital distribution this year.
"A company that was burdened by net debt of more than $13 billion as recently as 2013 now has zero net debt, no significant maturities for the next 10 years and a robust balance sheet, with strong liquidity consisting of $5.2 billion in cash and an undrawn $3 billion credit facility," stated Bristow.
Bristow concluded that Barrick is still only at the beginning of an exciting and rewarding journey but it is well-equipped in every way to build on what it has and to find and exploit new opportunities, including any openings offered by the ongoing dynamics of the gold industry.