April 17, 2015 / 9:44 AM / 3 years ago

Nickel miner TVI may delay Philippine IPO due to weak metal prices

MANILA, April 17 (Reuters) - TVI Resources Development Phils. Inc (TVIRD), a Philippine nickel miner partly owned by Canada’s TVI Pacific Inc, may push back a planned initial public offering to next year if metal prices remain depressed, its chairman said on Friday.

After a sterling performance in 2014, shares in Philippine nickel miners have fallen this year because of a slump in metal prices and an economic slowdown in China. Shares in top producer and exporter Nickel Asia Corp have lost nearly 39 percent.

“The target is to list in the fourth quarter. But right now I would not be recommending to the board that we do it,” TVIRD Chairman Clifford James told reporters after speaking at an industry forum. “When market conditions are good, that’s when we’ll list.”

In October, TVIRD began nickel ore exports from its newly developed Agata mine in Surigao province in southern Philippines, a major nickel-producing region supplying ore to processing plants in Australia, China, South Korea and Japan.

Last year the Southeast Asian country became the biggest ore supplier to China’s producers of nickel pig iron, which is used in stainless steel production, after Indonesia banned exports of unprocessed metallic minerals.

TVIRD is one of two Philippine nickel miners looking to raise funds from share sales this year to finance projects. Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc, the country’s No. 3 producer by output, has sought regulatory approval for a follow-on issue to raise up to $400 million.

James said TVIRD had yet to decide how much it wanted to raise from the IPO, which it intends to use to finance expansion projects and the construction of a nickel processing plant.

The miner is looking to build what could be the country’s third nickel processing plant.

James said the IPO would also depend on planned government measures such as higher mining taxes and a halt to ore exports, similar to the Indonesian ban.

“We want to see some certainty in government policy,” he said. The proposed reforms may weigh on TVIRD’s valuation, especially if they appear likely to get parliamentary approval before next year’s elections, he said.

However, TVIRD planned to export more than 2.5 million wet metric tonnes of nickel ore this year, which James believed would support the company’s valuation.

Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Alan Raybould

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