By Faith Ashmore
Companies in the junior mining sector are currently operating in a challenging capital-raising environment. The mining industry is highly cyclical, making it susceptible to fluctuations in commodity prices and other macroeconomic headwinds, making investors cautious about funding new exploration and development projects as potential returns may be uncertain.
Against this backdrop, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has emerged as a cost-effective avenue for well-capitalized companies to pursue disciplined growth and diversification. By leveraging their financial resources, technical expertise, and market presence, these established companies can effectively mitigate development and operating risks while unlocking the true value of quality projects.
Unsurprisingly, a study conducted by EY highlights that M&A deals in the mining sector have shown an upward trend, and Silvercorp’s recent acquisition is a testament to the acceleration of this industry trend.
Silvercorp Metals Inc. (NYSE AMERICAN: SVM; TSX: SVM), an established Canadian mining company boasting a strong balance sheet, has a strong track record of profitability along with growth opportunities, including fully-funded ‘organic’ growth within its existing low-cost mines, as well as ongoing strategic M&A efforts — including one recent example which could prove to be a home run.
On August 6, Silvercorp and OreCorp Limited announced the signing of a binding agreement that will result in Silvercorp acquiring all the outstanding shares of OreCorp. The deal enhances Silvercorp’s asset base by adding a largely de-risked, low-cost gold project, while preserving the company’s cash for mine development. Under the agreement, OreCorp shareholders will receive AUD $0.15 in cash and 0.0967 of a Silvercorp common share for each OreCorp share, representing a total consideration of approximately AUD $240 million. Existing OreCorp shareholders will own 17.8% of Silvercorp's common shares after the deal is completed.
The primary objectives of the acquisition are to create in Silvercorp a diversified and highly profitable precious metals company, provide a re-rating opportunity through the successful development of OreCorp's Nyanzaga Gold Project in Tanzania, and enable Silvercorp and OreCorp investors to be part of a company with greater access to capital, higher liquidity, increased scale and enhanced capital markets relevance. With its financial strength and the technical team's track record and expertise, Silvercorp is well-positioned to build, optimize, and further explore Nyanzaga, as well as pursue additional M&A opportunities.
As part of the agreement, Silvercorp provided OreCorp with approximately AUD $28 million in funding through an equity placement to advance the project development, including resettlement activities and early project works, laying the groundwork for imminent full-scale construction.
The board of OreCorp has unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favor of the transaction, which is subject to various closing conditions, including shareholder and court approvals. Silvercorp has also committed to seeking a listing on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Silvercorp stands out in the mining industry by prioritizing cash flow generation, actively pursuing diverse avenues for growth, and upholding responsible mining practices. The company's strategic initiatives have the potential to propel Silvercorp to a new level, while also highlighting enduring dedication to enhancing shareholder value. Readers interested in the latest updates on Silvercorp's growth strategies can find additional information at silvercorpmetals.com/welcome.