Commodities & Metals

Faltering Kinross Gold May Be Buyout Target (KGC, NEM, ABX, GG, AU, GLD)

Earlier this week, Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC) released a preliminary statement on 2012 production, mining costs, and a writedown a portion of $4.6 billion in goodwill on an African property. Shares traded at a new 52-week intra-day low below $10 yesterday as a result of the poor outlook.

Kinross is making a bit of a comeback on speculation that the company may now be a takeover target. Larger Canadian gold miners Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) and Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) are included in the number of possible buyers, as are Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE: GG) and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (NYSE: AU). Another potential buyer is London-traded Polyus Gold International Ltd. according to a report at Bloomberg News.

Kinross acquired Canadian miner Red Back in 2010 for $7.8 billion, and the deal included the Tasiast mine in Tanzania. The Tanzanian mine is the cause of the goodwill writedown, but the simple fact is that Kinross paid way too much for Red Back. Kinross has admitted that itself.

Of the potential buyers, Polyus might be the one to take most seriously. The Russian company has said that it wants to become one of the three largest gold miners in the world. Acquiring Kinross would achieve that goal.

Kinross might also be a good acquisition for Newmont, which currently has few growth prospects according to an industry analyst cited by Bloomberg: “Newmont has no growth, whereas Kinross has plenty of growth projects.”

Kinross is now trading at around $10/share though its asset value is about double that. That’s still a $20 billion+ deal at a time when production costs are rising and the price of gold going forward is unclear.

Shares of Kinross are up about 1.5% at noon today at $10.25 in a 52-week range of $9.96-$18.25. Shares of the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD) are up 0.27% at $161.65 in a 52-week range of $127.80-$185.85.

Paul Ausick