Is This Miner Losing Its Luster?
Shares of molybdenum miner Thompson Creek Metals (NYS: TC) dove 15% on Tuesday, after the company reported earnings. Strangely, it actually beat earnings estimates, reporting $0.00 per share on expectations of a $0.07 EPS loss, but revenue of $116.7 million missed by $5.4 million. Net income for the quarter was $0.8 million.
The drop in stock price seemed to come from the stampede of analysts downgrading Thompson as it received lower ratings from Credit Suisse, Dahlman Rose, and Deutsche Bank. The first two said the moly miner was now a hold, while Deutsche Bank downgraded it to a sell, primarily because of increased capital expenditures to $355 million, or 25% of its market cap. Deutsche Bank issued a $7.50 price target, which Thompson currently trades under.
Still a value?
With a P/E of just 4.4 and two mines set to come on line in the next two years, Thompson looks like a value play to some, especially after Tuesday's beating. The company expects to complete the expansion of its Endako mine by the end of the first quarter of 2012, which should add production capacity of 15 million to 16 million pounds of molybdenum annually. In 2011, the namesake mine produced just 21.4 million pounds of molybdenum.
But the real prize for investors is the Mt. Milligan copper and gold mine, which it acquired from Terrane Metals in 2010; it's expected to begin producing toward the end of 2013. Thompson Creek expects Mt. Milligan to produce 81 million pounds of copper and 194,000 ounces of gold per year. CEO Kevin Loughrey estimates a potential $450 million in annual profit from Mt. Milligan, as fellow Fool Christopher Barker describes here. By comparison, Freeport-McMoRan (NYS: FCX) , a $40 billion company, produced nearly 4 billion pounds of copper and 1.9 million ounces of gold in 2010.
Loughrey also sees increasing molybdenum prices in 2012 and 2013, as the economy picks up. This trend figures to help fellow miners like General Moly (NYS: GMO) , which produces molybdenum along with other metals. Thompson Creek molybdenum production should increase in the coming years, as well, to 26 million to 28 million pounds in 2012 and 30 million to 34 million in 2013 with the help of the Endako mine. While estimated capital expenditures have increased by more than $200 million for 2012, Loughrey observed that investors often punish mining stocks when they're going through a cap ex period. And Loughrey put his money where his mouth is, recently picking up shares at prices of $7.75, $7.44, and $6.36.
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At the time this article was published Fool contributorJeremy Bowmanholds no positions in the companies above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.