UPDATE 3-Canada's Alamos Gold, AuRico merger may spark rival bids

Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:39pm EDT
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(Recasts with possible competing bids)

By Nicole Mordant and Shubhankar Chakravorty

April 13 (Reuters) - Canadian gold miners Alamos Gold Inc and AuRico Gold Inc unveiled a $1.5 billion merger plan on Monday, setting the stage for possible competing offers as miners scout for assets amid slowing growth and weaker gold prices.

The combined mid-sized producer, with operations in Canada and Mexico, will have 2015 output of 375,000 to 425,000 ounces of gold.

Although analysts said the deal makes sense for the two miners - Alamos has excess cash and AuRico has a mine in Ontario that is ramping up production - competing offers could emerge.

"We believe AuRico, particularly Young-Davidson (Ontario mine), offers a compelling asset at current valuation levels for an interloper and as such, we see room for a potential premium deal to occur," Raymond James analyst Phil Russo said in a note to clients.

Possible suitors could include Canadian miners Goldcorp Inc , Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd .

A Yamana spokesman declined to comment, and Goldcorp and Agnico did not immediately respond to requests for a statement.

A stumbling block to a competing bid may be a $83.3 million side deal Alamos struck to buy a 9.9 percent stake in AuRico via a private placement for C$2.99 a share, a 21 percent discount to AuRico's closing price on Friday.   Continued...