Future Barrick chairman says would consider hedging

Wed Dec 4, 2013 6:57pm EST
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO Dec 4 (Reuters) - The incoming chairman of Barrick Gold Corp said on Wednesday he would consider a hedging strategy, given volatility in the price of gold, but this did not mean Barrick was poised to change tack on the issue.

Thornton, the former second-in-command at Goldman Sachs Inc , was named co-chairman of Barrick in June 2012. He will take over as Barrick's sole chairman when founder Peter Munk steps down from the board in the spring.

"As an outsider, I always thought it made great sense to hedge, given the background I come from. I can't imagine why you wouldn't look at that seriously all the time," Thornton told reporters at Barrick's headquarters in Toronto.

"Doesn't mean you would necessarily hedge. But I can't understand for the life of me why that wouldn't be an active topic (you'd) be carefully following at all times. Given the characteristics of a commodity like this, it just makes sense to me."

Barrick raised more than $5 billion in 2009 to unwind its fixed-price hedge book to take full advantage of rising gold prices. The company has since maintained a strong no-hedge position, despite the recent decline in the price of gold.

Thornton said that while he would consider hedging, it did not necessarily mean he would push Barrick back toward it.

Gabelli Gold Fund portfolio manager Caesar Bryan said he was worried by the statement. Gabelli Gold owns Barrick shares.   Continued...