AngloGold Ashanti, the third-biggest gold producer in the world, reported on Wednesday a 47.0-percent plunge in net profit in 2012 to $849 million. Net profit on a comparable asset basis fell by 29.0 percent to $924 million, the group said. However, the group said that the outcome for 2012 was the second-best of its eight-year history despite widespread strikes in South African mines which hit its activities in the second half of the year. If the industrial unrest had not occurred, net profit on a comparable basis with the outcome in 2011 would have shown a fall of 13.0 percent to $1.13 billion. Production for the year fell by 9.0 percent to 3.44 million ounces and sales fell by 4.0 percent to $6.63 billion. All of the company\'s mines were hit by industrial unrest for a month in September-October, and some were also affected in November. The board said that it had begun an audit with a view to rationalisation to reduce costs and that this could throw some projects into question. Joint managing director Tony O\'Neill said that the company had made big progress in ensuring that its recovery was strong after a difficult time at the end of last year. AngloGold Ashanti said that this year it expected to produce 4.1-4.4 million ounces of gold.