Timmins Gold Corp, which owns the San Francisco gold mine in Mexico, said on Wednesday it will sell C$25 million ($22.7 million) in equity to a syndicate of banks, the latest in a slew of recent share offerings from Canadian miners.
The Timmins deal, designed to strengthen its balance sheet, builds on a wave of offerings that may signal a thaw in the financing environment for miners, which have long been out of favor with investors.
The bank syndicate, led by RBC Capital Markets, will buy the shares at C$1.50 each, a significant discount to Timmins closing price of C$1.73 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The transaction was done as a bought deal.
A bought deal occurs when an underwriter, or a syndicate, buy shares from an issuer before selling them to the public.
While these deals typically occur at a slight discount to a companys last trading price, the large discount that Timmins agreed to underscores the challenges still facing gold miners.
The price of spot gold has fallen by nearly 30 percent in the past 12 months, and is now trading at around $1,240 an ounce. The drop shook investor confidence in gold miners, whose equity values have tumbled.
Bought deals and equity offerings from gold miners were all the rage between 2009 and 2011, when the price of gold was on a tear, but the pace and size of these deals has plummeted in the past two years, as the gold price has fallen after peaking at more than $1,900 an ounce in 2011.
The market for mining deals, however, is beginning to show signs of a thaw. The worlds largest gold producer, Barrick Gold Corp , announced a huge $3 billion equity offering late in 2013 that was aimed at trimming its debt load and strengthening its balance sheet.
Exploration and development company Torex Gold Resources Inc outlined a C$125 million bought deal on Tuesday that is being led by BMO Capital Markets.
Canadian base metals miner HudBay Minerals Inc announced a roughly C$150 million bought deal earlier this month, which is being co-led by GMP Securities and BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc.
Other miners that have recently announced plans to tap the market include Athabasca Minerals Inc, Platinum Group Metals Ltd and Castle Mountain Mining Co.
The equity offerings come ahead of the spring drilling season for many North American miners and the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in March, which is the biggest gathering in the industry.
Despite the pickup in financing activity, bankers remain cautious, noting that investor sentiment for mining companies is still tepid and warning that exploration-stage companies will still struggle to raise funds in the near term.
Timmins said proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including repayment of debt and working capital needs.
Shares in Timmins fell 12 percent to C$1.52 in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.