Secure finance, low costs key to market survival

FOSTER Stockbroking’s recent quarterly review focusing on ASX-listed small and mid-cap resources companies has reinforced the difficulty of pushing pure resource exploration plays in the current market.
Secure finance, low costs key to market survival Secure finance, low costs key to market survival Secure finance, low costs key to market survival Secure finance, low costs key to market survival Secure finance, low costs key to market survival


Michael Cairnduff

“We have decided to sharpen the focus on stocks that provide us with the most confidence in performing during such an environment,” Foster reported.

“In our last quarterly, we noted how China, Europe and the United States all cast a pall over the market for varying reasons.

“Our glimmer of hope then was the concerted efforts of central banks.

“Since then it has been the US which has demonstrated marked improvement, with the Fed’s efforts over the past few years now manifesting itself in a strengthening US housing market.”

Although China remained a key driver for resources, according to the report, Australian companies should not underestimate the US in terms of driving global growth.

“China itself will not repeat the fixed investment boom of the past 10 years but it will still need the key commodities – although its appetite over the past years will be somewhat impacted,” the stockbroker said.

“The resource companies that are best positioned will be those with well-advanced projects, financing secured and positioned low on the cost curve.”

In terms of individual performers across key commodities, Foster liked copper producers Tiger Resources and Altona Mining.

“The recent weakness in the Tiger Resources share price reflects sovereign risk issues, which present a buying opportunity,” it said.

“It is important to remember Gecamines already owns 40% of the Kipoi project and that recent rebel activity is in the north of the country – remote from Tiger’s operations.”

Altona Mining is generating cash flow from its Outokumpu project while it awaits an outcome over its Roseby project.

“We believe Altona will reap the benefits from commercialisation of Roseby through either Xstrata or another party, given the project’s scale and attractive location,” Foster said.

On the energy front, Guildford Coal is poised to become a coking coal producer, with first coal sales scheduled this month, making it one of the few Australian Securities Exchange-listed coking coal companies.

“Its South Gobi project is located close to the Mongolia-China border and its low-cost open pit mining and quality of coal should ensure a robust cash flow from a 5 million tonne per annum operation.”

Metals X was Foster’s preferred company for tin exposure, with its Renison mine delivering improved production and grade thanks to a new higher grade skarn being identified.

“The merger with Westgold has been completed, which should now put focus on development of its gold projects,” it said.

“Wingelina remains an option that is not valued by the market.”

At the top of the recommendations for iron ore plays was Iron Ore Holdings, with the recent prefeasibility on its 100%-owned Buckland iron ore project indicating the company was seeking to be the master of its own destiny through the construction of a private haul road and barging facility – eliminating the reliance on a third-party access.

If you are looking for a more exotic investment opportunity, Foster Stockbroking identified Pura Vida Energy as an exciting offshore oil and gas story in Morocco.

With a farm-out imminent it could result in the company being free-carried on a multibillion-barrel opportunity.

Sundance Energy and Red Fork Energy were the key picks for exposure to the US shale theme, with Red Fork ramping up development of its Mississippian acreage and Sundance recently gaining cheap entry into the prolific Eagle Ford.