Eldorado to acquire Integra as gold miners play it safe

Mon May 15, 2017 4:31pm EDT
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By Nicole Mordant

(Reuters) - Eldorado Gold Corp agreed on Monday to purchase fellow Canadian mining company Integra Gold Corp for C$590 million ($432.4 million) in the latest move by gold miners to opt for less risky geopolitical regions in a lackluster gold market.

Canada's stable legal and taxation system, clear way of getting mining permits and government support for the industry are drawing cards for miners as bullion stays rangebound between $1,100 and $1,300 an ounce, analysts and mining executives said.

The Eldorado cash-and-stock deal values Integra at C$1.21 a share, a 52 percent premium to Friday's closing price. The deal sent Integra's shares soaring 39 percent to C$1.12 on the TSX Venture Exchange on Monday.

Eldorado's stock dropped 7.8 percent to C$4.61.

Eldorado's operations are primarily in Greece and Turkey, where economic outlooks have dimmed and geopolitical risks have increased.

Like Canada, Australia and parts of the United States, such as Nevada, which are home to historic gold mining regions, have been the focus of acquisitions in recent years because of government support, permitting and stability, analysts and mining executives said.

"When investors are not necessarily falling all over themselves to invest in the space, there's a tendency to retrench into the more familiar areas and the lower risk areas," said Macquarie Bank analyst Michael Siperco.

A weaker Canadian dollar, which lowers local costs such as labor, has added to Canada's appeal. Macquarie forecasts the Canadian dollar weakening to 67 U.S. cents by end-2017, which combined with a stronger gold forecast translates into a Canadian gold price of more than C$2,000 an ounce.   Continued...