Record Silver Booty For Odyssey Marine Exploration

Sep.27.11 | About: Odyssey Marine (OMEX)

By David Urani

I love to learn new, interesting things whenever I can. The most new and interesting thing I came across Monday was Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. (NASDAQ:OMEX). OMEX is a deep ocean shipwreck treasure hunter, and that surely makes it one of the most unique publicly traded stocks out there. OMEX popped up onto my radar because of the 9% move it made directly after confirming that it found the remains of the SS Gairsoppa, a 412-foot English cargo ship sunk in 1941. Being a bit of a history buff and a generally inquisitive sort, I decided to read further and found an intriguing situation brewing at OMEX.

You see, the SS Gairsoppa, according to records, was carrying about 7 million ounces of silver before it was sunk to the depths by a German U-boat torpedo. There's still a good amount of work yet to be done, as the Gairsoppa is 4,700 meters below the sea in the North Atlantic. But, assuming Odyssey Marine can recover the booty, this would be the largest precious metal stash ever taken from the ocean.

That got me thinking, 7 million ounces of silver is a big chunk of change and OMEX may be what you would call a penny stock. At today's silver price ($30.20) the value of that treasure equals $211.4 million. Coincidentally, OMEX's market cap is just $210 million. That said, Odyssey has claim to 80% of the findings, or about $169 million.

If you've been watching silver prices the past few days then you've seen an epic plunge of about 25% in 3 days. This move is due in some part to margin increases by the CME and the Shanghai Gold Exchange. Margin hikes helped to torpedo silver prices back in May from almost $50 to below $35 in a matter of days, similar to what we are seeing now. Prices recovered from there back to a high point of about $44. I'm not saying that silver is bound to bounce back, but it may be worth pointing out that if silver were to hit $38 again, OMEX's silver booty alone from the SS Gairsoppa could be worth the entire value of the Company at its current price of $2.88, and just last Wednesday it would have been worth 7% more.