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Edited Transcript of GFI.J earnings conference call or presentation 13-Feb-20 1:00pm GMT

Q4 2019 Gold Fields Ltd Earnings Call

Johannesburg Feb 18, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Gold Fields Ltd earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 1:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Avishkar Nagaser

Gold Fields Limited - EVP of IR & Corporate Affairs

* Nicholas John Holland

Gold Fields Limited - CEO & Executive Director

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Conference Call Participants

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* Scott Macdonald

Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Associate Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Gold Fields Limited's Full Year of 2019 Results Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Please note that this conference is being recorded. I'd like to hand the conference over to Mr. Nick Holland. Please go ahead, sir.

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Nicholas John Holland, Gold Fields Limited - CEO & Executive Director [2]

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Thank you very much, and welcome, everybody. I'm just going to give a very brief introduction because the results have obviously been out for almost 24 hours. So I'm sure you've all studied the numbers for '19.

I think it's important to say that we've had a good year where production exceeded the upper end of our guidance. For the year, costs are rather well controlled. We brought Gruyere into production and ramped it up pretty quickly. Damang has made further progress. It's nice to see 9 mines in the group out of 9 mines all cash positive. So that's a nice achievement. We've taken over $300 million of the debt during the last year. So it's put us in a strong position. We've decided to go ahead with Salares Norte. As you've seen, we've completed an equity raise. We've raised $250 million. That will contribute to 30% of the -- of funding. We're quite confident that we can handle the rest without putting any undue pressure on our balance sheet at even much lower prices than today. We can sustain our dividends. We can sustain continued investment into the other operations. So in pretty good shape. Looking forward to another good year. And you've seen our guidance as well that our production is, again, expected to be up, cost down. And we should be able to underwrite a significant reduction in debt this year. With Salares, important to note that the bulk of the capital will actually be taking place in '21 and '22. There's around about $100 million this year that will start most probably in the next 3 or 4 months.

So with that, I'll hand it straight over to questions. We have around about 25 minutes max. So we want to give as much time as we can for questions. Paul is with me, as usual. I've also got Avishkar and Tom from Investor Relations with me now. Thanks very much. I'll hand it over for questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) We'll have a question from Scott Macdonald of Scotiabank.

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Scott Macdonald, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Associate Analyst [2]

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Could you just walk us through your rationale for deciding to take on Salares Norte all yourselves rather than bringing in a partner?

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Nicholas John Holland, Gold Fields Limited - CEO & Executive Director [3]

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All right. So first of all, that's a top-quality project. As you've seen, very low-cost operation. By far, that would just be $2 per ounce. It has significant district potential around it. And we're drilling out another potential deposit that is very, very close to the proposed process plant. And we've had some pretty spectacular intersections again in January and February.

In the process, partners we talked to wanted a big slice of the project. And I think given the fact that our balance sheet has improved significantly, the fact that our operations are performing well, the fact that we have some strong floors that we put in on prices for this year, we're quite confident that we can actually take this on, particularly given the fact that we've just done an equity raise of $250 million. So essentially, we've already funded 30% of the project from an equity issuance we completed last night, and the remaining 70%, we're quite comfortable that we can finance. So it's a combination of saying, partners wanted to have a big piece of it. They also want an exposure to the district, which is quite difficult for us to quantify. And given that this is a pretty spectacular project in the gold space, we believe retaining all of it is a better option, particularly if we can afford to do so. And with the equity issuance, we can afford to do it, but again at the same time, not put any stress on the rest of our operations and on the balance sheet. So it's a balance between everything, and we can keep on paying our dividend. We're quite confident of that, too.

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Operator [4]

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(Operator Instructions)

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Nicholas John Holland, Gold Fields Limited - CEO & Executive Director [5]

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Okay. I think if there's no further questions, we just want to thank everyone who did dial in. Thanks for the participation. And we look forward to catching up again soon. Obviously, we'll be marketing after this call. So hopefully, we'll meet some of you along the way. Thank you.

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Avishkar Nagaser, Gold Fields Limited - EVP of IR & Corporate Affairs [6]

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Let me just add that there will be a recording of the webcast from this morning's results presentation on the website a little later, which was quite detailed with lots of Q&A as well. So if you do look at that, we got a lot more information that you may require. Thank you.

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Operator [7]

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Thank you very much, gentlemen. Well, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us for the Gold Fields Limited results call. That concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect your lines.