As part of the agreement to trade margin-free for the next three years, Ashanti also agreed to prepare a corporate restructuring plan that would give our bankers comfort as to the future viability of the company. The delivery of, and commitment to implementing this plan would secure the rollover of existing debt facilities, and the approval of the proposed US$ 100 million bridge facility that was required to meet the working capital shortfall.
A restructuring plan to recapitalise the company's balance sheet was formulated taking into account the concerns of the key stakeholders: on the one hand, shareholders who were concerned by the reach of the Ghana Government's Golden Share and its impact on the company's prospects; on the other, the Ghana Government as shareholder, who wanted to remain undiluted in a key national asset. Of the many options we evaluated, two broad solutions emerged: 1. the raising of equity; and/or 2. the sale of an interest in an asset - in this case Geita - to raise cash to pay down debt.
Ashanti's clear preference was to raise equity. We saw - and continue to see - Geita as the engine of growth for the company, and Tanzania as an ideal country in which to do business.