RPT-Barrick Gold to divest energy unit, taking $500 million loss

Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:17pm EDT

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TORONTO, July 23 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp said on Tuesday it had agreed to sell its energy businesses for about C$455 million ($442 million), and would recognize a loss of $500 million in its second quarter in connection with the deals.

The Toronto-based gold miner said it would sell Barrick Energy Inc's assets to Venturion Oil Limited, Whitecap Resources Inc and Canadian Natural Resources Limited. About C$405 million of the proceeds would be cash.

Hit by a drop in gold prices and cost increases that have plagued miners around the world, Barrick has been looking to sell non-core assets.

The company said about $90 million of the $500 million loss would be a goodwill charge. It is already taking a big impairment charge in the second quarter - some $4.5 billion to $5.5 billion related to its Pascua-Lama project on the border between Chile and Argentina.

Barrick has slowed construction at the massive gold mine, where work was halted by Chilean regulators over environmental violations, and must build new water management infrastructure before resuming construction.

The company said the energy deals are expected to close by July 31, and subject to some conditions.

Barrick's financial advisors on the deals are Rothschild and Scotia Waterous, and Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP is its legal counsel.

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