Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NASDAQ: OMEX) is far from your ordinary company because this is quite literally a publicly traded treasure hunting outfit. Now it might be a silver mining outfit depending upon your definition. This is an interesting twist for “the devil’s metal.”
We reported at the end of 2011 that Odyssey Marine had confirmed the identity and site location of the shipwreck of the SS Gairsoppa, a 412-foot steel-hulled British cargo ship that was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat in February 1941. This ship was loaded full of millions of ounces of silver. Now we have a tally of just how much has been recovered: it has successfully recovered approximately 48 tons (or 1.4 million troy ounces) of silver bullion. The report shows that it was from a depth of approximately three miles and this was called the “initial recovery of bullion” in its release. If silver is over $26.00 per ounce then this would come close to $36 million of silver.
With this silver recovery, is it just coincidence that silver is down on the day? Actually, it is mostly coincidence. The iShares Silver Trust (NYSEMKT: SLV) is the key exchange-traded product tracking silver and it generally (pre-fees of course) tracks the price of one ounce of silver. The “SLV” is down 0.3% at $26.40 on the day. With an average of 12 million shares trading per day, that trust alone has a daily trading value of more than $310 million at current silver prices. In short, the ETF trades close to 10-times the entire value of this “initial recovery of bullion” reported by Odyssey Marine Exploration. This recovery should not be impacting the price of silver even if the ship’s contents for years had been no longer counted as being in the world’s silver supply. The ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEMKT: SIVR) is also in the red so far on the day.
Odyssey Marine’s shares are down 8% at $3.91 on about three-times normal volume of 1.6 million shares in a sell-the-news reaction because the company also has its earnings out. This is one of the 10 most unusual public companies we have identified before and its 52-week range is $1.80 to $4.36.
JON C. OGG