After my review of Paladin’s (OTCPK:PALAF) uranium assets, I’ve decided to sit down and actually calculate a present value of all of Paladin’s uranium deposits. This provides a rough valuation for the company, although it admittedly does not include the value of company owned equipment or any sort of valuation of the company’s exploration prospects. The valuation is, in a sense, a bare minimum valuation for Paladin Resources. Below I have evaluated the present value of each asset individually, using the formula: PV= Future value/(1+i)^t, where i is the risk free long term interest rate and t is the time period over which the value will be realized. In all cases, I have set i at 6%, which is probably about 50 basis points too high for a long term interest rate, but it leaves us with a conservative estimate of the value of Paladin’s uranium deposits.
In addition, the uranium deposits have been assigned a future value based on the current spot price of uranium of $85/lb. As the uranium price appears poised to climb above $100 and is likely to stay there for quite some time, $85/lb may ultimately prove to be too conservative in valuing these assets. For the longer term assets, however, this will probably prove to be an accurate assessment.
Langer Heinrich–In yesterday’s analysis I calculated the value of the deposit at $4.6 billion. However, because Paladin is paying 3% royalties to the government of Namibia, it is only worth $4.45 billion to Paladin. Based on Paladin’s expectation to produce 2.6 million pounds per year, the mine will be in operation for 21.5 years. So by using $4.45 billion as the future value, 6 percent as the risk free interest rate, and 21.5 years as the period, we can calculate that the present value of Langer Heinrich is $1.31 billion.
Kayelkeera–Given Paladin’s stake is worth $2.55 billion and Paladin projects the mine to be operational for 11 years, Kayelkeera has a present value of $1.34 billion.
Isa Joint Venture–Paladin has not given much guidance for the duration of mining activities here. However, they have said that they anticipate production in 2012, and given that the deposit is approximately the same size as Langer Heinrich, I have estimated that the mine will be operational for about 20 years. Therefore, the total time period I have used is 25 years. Given that Paladin’s stake is worth $2.8 billion, with a period of 25 years, the present value of Paladin’s stake is about $0.65 billion.
Bigrlyi–Given the smaller size of this deposit and the more accommodating mining laws in the Northern Territory, I have estimated the total time period for this deposit to be 15 years. Given that Paladin’s stake is worth $0.5 billion, the present value of this deposit would be approximately $0.21 billion.
Therefore, by summing these four deposits, we can derive a present value for all of Paladin’s uranium deposits. This present value comes out to approximately $3.5 billion. This estimate does not include any assets that would be gained in the Summit acquisition.
Given Friday’s closing price of $6.35, Paladin has a market cap of only $3.1 billion. Even if we subtract the $15 million in long term debt and the $250 million from the recent convertible bond placement, Paladin is still trading at a discount to the present value of its currently owned uranium deposits (at a valuation of $85/lb).
In addition, there is significant reason to believe Paladin should receive a valuation above the present value of those deposits. Paladin has already stated that it expects to find more uranium as it continues exploration around the Kayelkeera mine in Malawi. In addition, higher uranium prices will make the deposits more valuable, and will also lead to an increase in uranium reserves because lower grades can be mined economically at higher prices. With most analysts predicting $100 uranium in the near term, it would be rational for the market to price Paladin’s deposits at slightly above $85/lb. Finally, given Paladin’s experience in Africa, there is reason to believe the company will be able to find and bring into production more uranium mines there and in Australia over the longer term. Management has shown its desire to grow both through acquisitions and through exploration, and this is a wild card that could send Paladin shares much higher in the longer term. Given all of these future catalysts, Paladin deserves to trade at a premium to the present value of its uranium deposits, but at the moment, it is actually trading at a discount to the value of these deposits. There appears to be very little downside left here for Paladin, and I believe the stock will begin to carry a more appropriate valuation once this market selloff runs its course.
Finally, a quick note about the Summit acquisition. Some people might be questioning why Paladin is willing to pay $900 million for Summit when the present value of Summit’s 50% stake (ie same as Paladin’s above) in the Isa JV is only $650 million at current uranium prices. I would respond to this by pointing to the following:
1) Paladin expects higher uranium prices in the future, and is willing to bet on that by paying a premium now.
2) Summit also has exploration rights in several other areas in Australia, and although these are difficult to value, Paladin obviously believes they have some worth.
3) Summit also has a gold and mineral division which Paladin expects to sell off if they manage to acquire Summit. I have not looked into the potential value of this unit, but it will clearly lower the price of the transaction when the sale price of this unit is taken into account.
Therefore, the Summit acquisition would be a good deal for Paladin, as it provides known quantities of uranium and significant exploration prospects at a price not too much above the present value of Summit’s known reserves. In fact, Paladin could probably raise the price of the deal by about 15 percent and still pay a reasonably advantageous price.
It is my view that Paladin will likely raise the bid here, and will ultimately pay about $1.0 billion for Summit. As a Paladin investor, I would be quite happy with that sort of price.
Disclosure: Author is long PALAF.PK