January 4th, 2023 | 07:17 CET
Takeover fever 2023? BioNTech, Barrick Gold, Standard Lithium, Manuka Resources
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"[...] Internally we expect the resource to significantly grow the deeper we mine. [...]" Dennis Karp, Executive Chairman, Manuka Resources
Manuka Resources: Facing revaluation due to vanadium project?
There is a good chance that the Manuka Resources share will trend more friendly this year. The mining and exploration company completed its capital increase, which weighed on the share price at the end of 2022. Its project portfolio has three interesting raw materials: gold, silver, and the critical mineral vanadium. In order to advance these projects, the Australians received AUD 4.1 million in December. The new shares were placed at AUD 0.105. The stock is currently trading at AUD 0.085. "Recently, we have significantly advanced the resumption of silver production at Wonawinta, advanced a resource development plan at Mt Boppy and completed the acquisition of TTR - a project with the potential to be at the forefront of the green economy," said CEO Dennis Karp.
Manuka's projects in detail: The Mt Bobby gold project was acquired in 2020. It is one of the historically richest gold mines in Australia. At the time, 500,000 ounces of gold were mined at an average grade of half an ounce per ton of ore. Manuka originally planned to mine 24,000 ounces of gold. But in fact, it is twice that amount. And the resource could be more productive than thought. A plan for further development is currently being drawn up.
At the Wonawinta Silver project, the resource estimate is already available. It includes 51 million ounces, and once production begins, Manuka will become one of Australia's largest silver producers. A processing plant is already in operation and will initially be fed with historical stockpiles with a volume of 515,000 tons.
Manuka's third project is also exciting. It is the South Taranaki Bight (STB) project, acquired in the fourth quarter of 2022. It is located offshore New Zealand and contains iron sands with vanadium, titanium and magnetite. Vanadium is a critical mineral and helps improve energy storage and battery durability. The mining license has already been granted. With a JORC resource of 3.8 bcm and a vanadium grade of 0.5%/t, Manuka could become the third largest vanadium producer in the world with a 15% market share. Revenue estimates are around pounds 55 million per annum. Manuka Resources' market capitalization is less than AUD 45 million. Yet the Australians have already generated revenues of AUD 53.5 million and positive operating cash flow of AUD 8.9 million in the past fiscal year (ended June 30).
Barrick Gold: Focusing on own projects
Officially, Barrick Gold is not currently looking around for takeover candidates. Instead, the Company is focusing on the development of its own projects. The focus is currently on the Reko Diq project in Pakistan. Production in one of the world's largest undeveloped copper-gold projects is expected to start in 2028. But there is still a long way to go, and Pakistan is anything but an easy place. Therefore, one cannot rule out that Barrick will jump on the takeover merry-go-round after all. The gold giant could afford it in any case. Debt has been reduced significantly in recent years, and operations are running smoothly. In the third quarter of 2022, expectations were exceeded, and production targets for the full year were confirmed. In contrast, experts expect Agnico Eagle to continue its M&A strategy. The Canadians aim to further reduce the gap to the industry giants Barrick and Newmont. The acquisitions of Detour Gold and Kirkland Lake Gold show that Agnico Eagle can also handle several larger transactions.
Standard Lithium: Does price decline attract buyers?
Standard Lithium's share price more than tripled in 2022. The disappointing share price performance could lure one or the other group. Lithium will likely be a commodity in great demand in the coming years. And Standard Lithium, after all, has two exciting projects. On the way to commercialization, the Company relies on cooperation with the German Lanxess Group. President of Standard Lithium, Dr Andy Robinson, says, "Our team has successfully negotiated and agreed upon a key agreement with Lanxess, the owner of the site, to exclusively secure the required land for our commercial facilities and allow us to begin work on-site at the proposed location of the first commercial lithium project. The data collected over the next few months will be critical for the OPD team to design the facility and place key equipment on the large land area available to Standard Lithium at Lanxess' South Plant. Once the key ground conditions are determined and the location of the major equipment can be established, engineering work can begin to link the Standard Lithium facility and Lanxess' existing brine infrastructure on the site. We look forward to announcing further developments as planning unfolds for the Company's first commercial lithium project." In addition to Lanxess, the second collaboration partner Koch Industries could swallow the lithium explorer. There is also ongoing speculation about Tesla taking at least a stake in a lithium company, extending its value creation.
BioNTech: 163 million vaccine doses delivered to the federal government alone
BioNTech's stock benefited yesterday from the news that Germany has committed to purchase about 375 million doses of the Corona vaccine. That is according to a response from the German government to a question from the AfD parliamentary group. There was no information about the price per dose. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, a total of about 163 million vaccine doses have been supplied by BioNTech/Pfizer to date. Another 60 million doses came from other manufacturers. Of the total nearly 223 million doses delivered, more than 85% have been vaccinated. Currently, about 7,000 vaccinations per day are being carried out. According to the German government, negotiations are underway via the EU Commission to cancel or reduce the additional orders for 2023 and 2024. Whether this will happen is likely dependent on the Corona pandemic's development in China. Due to the development in the Middle Kingdom, representatives of the EU countries want to meet today to discuss possible reactions. Regardless of how COVID-19 will proceed, BioNTech can go full throttle with its development due to the billions in profits. The focus now is on cancer research. The Mainz-based company's pipeline includes 19 product candidates in 24 ongoing clinical trials. Accordingly, there should be a positive news flow in the current year. In terms of acquisitions, BioNTech has so far focused on production capacities. It is unlikely that a research-based biotech company will be bought, but at least the financing should not fail. On the other hand, a takeover of BioNTech is also unlikely due to the shareholder base. In particular, the founders have repeatedly emphasized that they want to develop BioNTech independently.
Barrick is one of the fundamental investments in the gold sector. The fact that it currently prefers to develop its own projects instead of making acquisitions carries risks and is not welcomed by every expert. Manuka Resources has developed positively operationally in the past year. If this continues in 2023, the share should also benefit. In the case of Standard Lithium, it is advisable to wait for a countermovement. The chart is heavily battered. At BioNTech, the new study results will determine the share price development.
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