Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Thursday, August 21, 2014

  • 3:43 PM
    | 4 Comments
  • 8:19 AM
    • Even as chaos continues to engulf the country, Libya said yesterday that oil exports would resume shortly from the Es Sider terminal, the country's largest and capable of exporting 350K bbl/day of crude, after being shut for the past year.
    • Libya’s production is now well over 500K bbl/day, still below peaks reached under Gadhafi's rule but a significant addition to global oil supply.
    • Crude oil futures are falling in Europe on news of the increased Libyan supply as well as weak overnight data on Chinese manufacturing; October Brent crude on the ICE exchange fell $0.71 to $101.57.
    • ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, SCO, BNO, DTO, DBO, CRUD, USL, UWTI, DWTI, DNO, SZO, OLO, OLEM, TWTI
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  • 7:58 AM
    • Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) reports a 7% increase in Q2 operating profit to $311M and a 4% rise in revenue to $747M, as a result of higher gold sales which were partially offset by the lower gold price.
    • Adjusted earnings from continuing operations totaled $25M, up from $21M in Q1 and a $36M loss in the year-ago quarter.
    • Says safety interventions at South Deep during the quarter masked what was a better quarter as a whole, in terms of costs, margins and cash flows.
    • Exceeded 15% cash flow margin target for the first time by achieving a free cash flow margin of 18%, up from 13% in Q1.
    • All-in sustaining costs were $1,050/oz. from attributable gold equiv. production of 586K oz., up 5% Q/Q.
    • Output at the Granny Smith mine in Australia rose to 85K oz. from 65K oz. while all-in costs fell to $692/oz.
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  • Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • 4:43 PM
    • Monsanto (NYSE:MON) says it expects to begin selling new soybean seeds resistant to a broader range of herbicides in 2016 pending regulatory approvals in major agricultural countries.
    • The seeds, which MON intends to pair with a new and stronger weedkiller, are "on track for U.S. regulatory approval toward the end of the year" and are expected to earn international approvals in 2015, chief technology officer Robert Fraley says.
    • MON has sought USDA approval for the seeds since 2010, but the review has moved more slowly than expected amid pushback from environmental groups.
    • Earlier: Monsanto affirms guidance.
    | Comment!
  • 2:57 PM
    • Investors have high hopes for Newmont Mining’s (NEM -0.4%) Nevada operations, which has helped shares gain 7% so far this month, but Morgan Stanley analysts think they're too optimistic.
    • The firm's visit to the Nevada operations leads it to conclude that potential synergies with partners could be limited as current operations already appear fairly efficient; ops are running at ~90% of capacity - for example, Mill 6 is running at 3.5M metric tons/year, well above its designed capacity of 2.6M - suggesting NEM engineers already have implemented significant de-bottlenecking.
    | 1 Comment
  • 12:51 PM
    • Monsanto (MON +0.3%) says it is on track for current guidance at the high end of its initial FY 2014 ongoing EPS and free cash flow guidance ranges, despite increased headwinds across the macro agriculture industry.
    • MON confirms 2014 EPS guidance of $5.10-$5.20 vs. $5.21 analyst consensus estimate, and free cash flow of $700M-$800M; expects net cash provided by operating activities of $2.9B-$3.3B.
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  • 9:14 AM
    • Asanko Gold (NYSEMKT:AKG) says it has begun main construction work on the initial phase of the Asanko Gold Mine in Ghana.
    • Phase 1 is expected to produce 200K oz./year of gold at steady state starting in Q2 2016 for a total of 2.25M oz. over an 11.5-year life of mine.
    • The capital cost of the project is expected to be in-line with earlier estimates of $295M.
    | Comment!
  • 7:52 AM
    • Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY) reports H1 adjusted net profit of $2.01B, up 8% Y/Y vs. a restated $1.86B in the first six months of 2013, primarily due to higher production volumes and improved market conditions in grains, copper, zinc and coal.
    • The big news is the $1B share buyback, but shares are barely changed in London trading; the buyback plan is "refreshing," says Tony Robson of BMO Capital, but he says the amount is small given the $6.5B obtained from the sale of the Las Bambas copper project in Peru, suggesting the company is keeping back most of the Las Bambas cash for future acquisitions, which should add to growth.
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  • 7:43 AM
    • Evogene Ltd. (NYSE:EVGN) Q2 results: Revenues: $3.9M (-10.8%); Operating Expenses: $5.2M (+50.4%); Net Loss: ($3.2M) (-69.6%); Loss Per Share: ($0.13) (-30.0%); Quick Assets: $87.3M (+72.9%); Cash Burn: ($2.0M) (-297.7%).
    • No financial guidance given.
    | 1 Comment
  • Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • 6:29 PM
    • BHP Billiton's (NYSE:BHP) move to spin off a raft of assets it deems non-core - businesses that employ ~25% of the company's current workforce but deliver less than 10% of its profits - creates a new midsize metals player that could become a prime takeover target for rivals.
    • WSJ mentions Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY) as a potential suitor, and Mick Davis, the former CEO of Xstrata who left the company when it merged with Glencore, is on the lookout for acquisitions for his new investment vehicle.
    • On the other hand, the new BHP entity could suffer from dis-synergies after the spinoff, potentially facing higher costs in borrowing funds and procuring supplies.
    | Comment!
  • 2:38 PM
    • BHP Billiton (BHP -3.4%) CEO Andrew MacKenzie said prospective partners for its proposed Jansen potash mine in Saskatchewan may be deterred by current market conditions for the crop nutrient.
    • While BHP would like a partner to help develop the project, the CEO said after reporting earnings and a plan to spin off some assets that "we are not in a hurry, and we have to take account of how current market conditions have perhaps made some of the potential partners less interested than they might have been."
    • Analysts say Jansen may cost $16B to develop; BHP has said it is cutting spending on Jansen by ~25%, but MacKenzie said today that construction of a mine shaft at the site is proceeding, albeit at a reduced pace.
    | Comment!
  • 10:41 AM
    • Dominion Diamond (DDC -1.2%) says Q2 rough diamond production exceeded expectations, with output from its Ekati mine and the Diavik mine it jointly owns with Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) substantially ahead of the company’s plan.
    • Q2 sales totaled $277M vs. $253M analyst consensus estimate.
    • DDC says Ekati benefited from improvements to its processing plant over the past 10 months, combined with ore grades that were higher than expected; ore processing at Diavik was 29% ahead of plan for the quarter ended July 31, helped by higher mining rates and improved equipment availability.
    • Also named Ron Cameron as CFO.
    | Comment!
  • 10:01 AM
    • Star Bulk Carriers (SBLK +5.2%) agrees to acquire 34 drybulk vessels from Excel Maritime Carriers (NYSE:EXM) for ~29.9M shares and ~$288M in cash for total consideration of $634.9M.
    • The sale consists of six Capesize vessels, 14 sistership Kamsarmax vessels, 12 Panamax vessels and two Handymax vessels mainly built at shipyards in Japan.
    • The vessels will be acquired in a series of closings which SBLK expects to complete by the end of 2014.
    • After the deal, SBLK will have 103 vessels in its fleet, with an aggregate cargo-carrying capacity of ~11.85M deadweight tons.
    | Comment!
  • 9:11 AM
    • Silvercorp Metals (NYSE:SVM) reports a significant gain in measured and indicated mineral resources at the Ying Silver-Lead-Zinc Mining District in Henan Province, China.
    • Mineral resources totaled 14M metric tons, up 52% Y/Y, containing 107M oz. silver, 43.8K oz. gold, 512.2K metric tons lead, and 172.6K metric tons zinc.
    • SVM says the Ying mine complex is a viable operation with a projected mine life through to 2030, based on proven and probable reserves.
    | Comment!
  • 9:02 AM
    • Kennametal (NYSE:KMT) says Chairman, President and CEO Carlos Cardoso will retire from the company effective on Dec. 31.
    • Cardoso has served as KMT president and CEO since Jan. 2006, and was elected chairman two years later.
    | Comment!
  • 8:50 AM
    • Natural Resource Partners (NYSE:NRP) agrees to acquire VantaCore Partners, a privately held limited partnership specializing in the construction materials industry, for $205M.
    • NRP expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to both earnings and cash flow, with ~$25M in EBITDA generated over the next 12 months.
    | Comment!
  • 8:33 AM
    • Buenaventura (NYSE:BVN) is taking full control of the Chucapaca gold deposit in Peru by buying a 51% stake in the project from partner Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI), raising its stake from 49%.
    • BVN, which is paying $81M plus royalties, says it will develop the deposit as an underground mine instead of as an open-pit project the two companies once deemed too costly.
    • Chucapaca has been estimated to produce 500K oz. of gold per year once up and running.
    | Comment!
  • 7:59 AM
    • Investors were expecting BHP's move to simplify the company to its "four pillars" of iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum, but they also expected a stock buyback in the neighborhood of $5B; they didn't get it, and the stock is -3.6% premarket.
    • BHP had said it was targeting net debt of ~$25B before it would consider returning extra capital to shareholders, but even after reaching that target - net debt at June 30 was $25.8B - it decided it would only go ahead when it could return capital in "a consistent and predictable manner."
    • The share price fall also reflects some concern with the proposed terms of the de-merger: Under the deal structure, shareholders would be given stock in the new spinoff even though it will be listed in Australia and South Africa, but many U.K. shareholders have investment mandates which do not allow them to own overseas companies, so many will be forced to dump their shares in the spinoff.
    | Comment!
  • Monday, August 18, 2014

  • 6:07 PM
    • British Columbia's government says it is ordering an independent review of all tailings ponds at every permitted mine in the province following the major spill at Imperial Metals' (OTCPK:IPMLF) Mount Polley mine.
    • The minister of energy and mines also says an independent panel would investigate the tailings dam breach, which sent billions of gallons of mine waste into waterways in central B.C.
    • Teck Resources (NYSE:TCK) has several operating mines in B.C., with Thompson Creek Metals (NYSE:TC) and Taseko Mines (NYSEMKT:TGB) also operating in the province.
    | 3 Comments
  • 4:30 PM
    • Contrarians looking for a bottom in the long slide in corn could do worse than hearing a bell ringing in the WSJ headline from this weekend: "U.S. Farmers are up to their ears in corn."
    • "We're going to drown in corn this year," leads the article, quoting Decatur's Jeff Brown, a 5th-generation farmer.
    • More? "We're going to see corn in piles all over the Midwest, and it's going to take forever to eat through it all," says commodity broker Jamey Kohake, who is advising clients to sell rallies and not hold any corn through the winter.
    • September corn fell 1.7% today to $3.60 per bushel. Two years ago, corn was selling for more than $8.
    • CORN -1.6%
    • ETFs: JJG, GRU
    | 1 Comment
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