Current Price: C$0.30
Offer Price: C$0.33
Expected Closing: late March/early April 2021
This idea was shared by Thomas.
On the 21st of January mid-tier gold miner Eldorado Gold announced the acquisition of exploration stage mining company QMX Gold. Each QMX share will be exchanged into 0.01523 of Eldorado shares + C$0.075/share in cash. Total consideration amounts to C$132m. Both companies have listings in Canada and the US. Canadian QMX listing is somewhat cheaper and more liquid, however, on IB borrow is available only for the US listing of Eldorado (ticker: EGO). 1m shares are available with a fee rate of 0.43%.
Approval from 2/3rds of QMX shareholders will be required – the meeting will take place in March (the exact date is not announced yet).
Overall, the likelihood of successful closing seems fairly high.
Positive aspects of this trade
- Eldorado is a relatively large and credible buyer ($2.2bn market cap). They’ve carried numerous acquisitions in the past (up to $2.5bn in size), so this deal is tiny in comparison. Moreover, Eldorado is the largest shareholder of QMX (holds 18%) and owns a mine in the same region where QMX properties are located (Val-d’Or, Quebec). So the buyer is well acquainted both with the target company as well as the geographical region. Strategic rationale naturally makes sense – it will increase Eldorado’s footprint in the area and enhance future growth prospects in Canada (Eldorado’s current mine there has 8 years of mine life remaining). Worth noting that multiple drillings in QMX target locations showed very positive results (exceeded expectations according to the management).
- Shareholder approval is quite likely. QMX exploration operations are still in the early stages (drillings are ongoing) and any real revenue generation is still far away. Moreover, Eldorado controls a substantial stake in QMX, so hopes for a competing offer should be rather limited. In this context, it’s quite possible that shareholders will take the offer, especially when the major part of it is in stock, which will allow them to participate in further industry tailwinds from the elevated gold prices.
- EGO liquidity is high and borrows fees are likely remain low until the merger closes.
- Closing is estimated within 1.5 – 2 months, which would result in substantial IRR for this arbitrage.
Even with the points stated above, the most prominent risk is shareholder approval. Also, mining is one of the more risky industries in terms of M&A breaks. So the chances of merger termination are still present, however, the credibility of the buyer and strategic sense somewhat lowers this risk.
The group has multiple mining assets all over the world:
Together with the rest of the gold mining industry, Eldorado Gold was positively impacted by the surge in gold price last year:
Apparently, the company hasn’t done any significant acquisitions lately. The most recent one was in 2017 – Integra Gold (C$590m). In the past Eldorado was more active in M&A field (see here). A notable one is the merger with European Goldfields in 2012 (for C$2.5bn).
QMX is a junior exploration company focused on exploring its assets in Val d’Or, Abitibi District of Quebec.
The company’s presentation can be found here.