Cadence Minerals – Updating valuation as portfolio climbs the development curve
Cadence is an investment company with a focus on lithium and other new technology metals. Cadence’s strategy in a crowded space is to gain exposure to projects which have strategic cost advantages and can be rapidly moved up the development value curve. Cadence’s core holdings are: a 20.4% stake in European Metal Holdings (AIM:EMH), which operates the Cinovec lithium/tin project in the Czech Republic; a 7% stake in Bacanora Lithium (AIM:BCN), which operates the Sonora Lithium project in Mexico; and a 30% interest in the Yangibana Rare Earth Project, located in Western Australia, with the remaining 70% held by ASX-listed Hastings Technology Metals Limited (ASX:HAS). In the last 6 months, Cadence’s portfolio projects have seen a number of significant developments, as they move towards production and value creation for shareholders.
Core projects getting closer to production
Q4 2017 saw the completion of bankable feasibility studies (BFS) at both the Sonora and Yangibana projects. The Sonora BFS showed a two-stage project with an up front capital cost of US$420m and a post-tax IRR of 21.2% at a Lithium Carbonate price of $11,000/tonne, while the Yangibana BFS outlined a capital cost of US$260m and an impressive IRR of 78%. Industry groups have shown support for both projects through off-take agreements and equity investments in the case of Sonora. Cinovec is currently moving towards completion of a BFS, with a particular focus on the metallurgical optimisation program, which has so far showed significantly improved lithium leaching recoveries with a small increase in roasting temperatures.
Next Steps / Catalysts – projects moving closer to production
Sonora and Yangibana are currently at similar stage of development, preparing for construction financing. In our view, news of such financing is likely to act as a catalyst for share price re-rating of Cadence Minerals as well as the project operators, Bacanora and Hastings Technology Metals. The BFS underway at the earlier stage Cinovec project, operated by European Metal Holdings, is expected to be completed in H2 2018. With potential cost savings from processing flowsheet optimisation, there is scope to improve on the economics of the project’s pre-feasibility study, which could act as another catalyst for Cadence shares, in our view.
We update our Cadence valuation for the Sonora BFS results, our updated lithium price deck and updated implied valuations for public market holdings in the Cadence portfolio. We arrive at a sum of the parts valuation for Cadence’s assets of US$169.1m. Applying our NPV multiples to the Company’s operations we generate a valuation of GBp 0.87/sh, implying 277% upside to the current price.
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