The gold royalty and streaming stocks have become market darlings, with Franco-Nevada (FNV) and Royal Gold (RGLD) making fresh all-time highs. Silver Wheaton's (SLW) outstanding fundamentals are regularly noted, as I wrote about in "Silver Wheaton: Premier Precious Metals Play." Fear mongering has caused Silver Wheaton shares to lag peers this year, and catch up may soon occur.
In March, Silver Wheaton disclosed that the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) is auditing the company's 2005-10 international earnings. Currently, the CRA is in "information gathering mode." Bears have trumpeted the event.
There is really not much to update on that front. Revenue Canada continues to be in the information gathering stage. Again, this is a routine audit that's about we fully expected to occur on a regular basis for company the size of Silver Wheaton. As far as timing goes, there is no commitment from Revenue Canada on when they would wrap this up, but, you know, we would be hopeful that they would wrap it up by the end of 2012.
Later another inquiry occurred, this time from a JPMorgan analyst. Long-time gold bugs may smirk with schadenfreude regarding the long-held belief that JPMorgan is massively short silver and manipulates the market. CEO Randy Smallwood responded:
We are not going to speculate on what position CRA may or may not here; we are very comfortable with the structure that we have in place and believe it will withstand scrutiny at the end of the day.
The Canadian Revenue Agency audit is the first Silver Wheaton has received and is routine for a company its size. Moving forward, management expects to be audited annually and does not anticipate reviews will result in material adjustments. Canadian companies are structured to pay Canadian taxes on Canadian operations and to not pay Canadian taxes on international operations.
Government agencies do not give timelines for this type of work. Perhaps the case will be closed by the end of the year. Whenever the event is finished, Silver Wheaton shares may be printing new highs and have already closed the discount to royalty company peers.