Philippine nickel miner pursues $22-mln IPO despite metal slump

Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53am EDT
 
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MANILA Oct 15 (Reuters) - Philippine nickel miner TVI Resource Development (Phils) Inc plans an initial public offering to raise up to 1 billion pesos ($22 million) to fund a domestic gold and silver mining project, a preliminary prospectus showed.

Braving a slump in nickel prices chiefly due to weak demand from top buyer China, the company, in which Canadian miner TVI Pacific Inc has an equity interest of about 31 percent, seeks a Dec. 18 listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The Southeast Asian country, which has 27 nickel mines, was last year's biggest ore supplier to China's producers of nickel pig iron, used to make stainless steel, after previous top supplier Indonesia banned exports of some unprocessed minerals.

TVI Resource is one of two Philippine nickel miners seeking to raise funds for expansion via share sales. But the timing of a planned follow-on offer by the second miner, Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc, remains uncertain amid a drop of nearly 60 percent in its stock price this year.

Shares of other Philippine nickel miners have slumped this year, following stellar performances in 2014, with top ore producer Nickel Asia Corp also down more than 50 percent.

Before embarking on nickel mining last year, the 21-year-old company previously produced copper, gold, silver and zinc at the now closed Canatuan mine in southern Philippines.

It plans to sell up to 272.02 million shares, representing 10 percent of its projected outstanding common share capital after the IPO, at an offer price of up to 3.71 pesos per share, which could raise up to $22 million. A secondary offering of up to 136.01 million shares could raise $11 million.

Proceeds from the primary offer will finance the company's Balabag gold and silver project in the southern province of Zamboanga del Sur. Subject to regulatory approvals, the final offer price is to be set on Nov 26. (Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)