Ever since the environmental permit for their tailings mine got revoked by the South African government, First Uranium equity has traded lower. Their debentures have also traded from roughly 75 cents to 71 cents.
Today, however, they will likely trade lower because of First Uranium’s corporate update. In it contains the following words:
The announcement of the withdrawal of the EA has not only delayed construction of the TSF, it has also disrupted certain well-advanced corporate financing opportunities, which, along with the slower than expected production buildup at the Ezulwini Mine, would, if alternative financing is not obtained, severely compromise the Company’s financial position. The Company is now reviewing strategic alternatives, and is engaged in discussions with respect to alternative financing opportunities.
My guess is that the common stock will trade down about 10% on Tuesday and the debentures will trade down another 3 cents. The company will likely have to sell more equity in future gold sales (as they have done previously), or equity in their company in a heavily dilutive offering. Management does not own too much common stock and is likely to dilute through equity to reduce the influence of Simmer and Jack.
The latest financial update from First Uranium was at September 30, 2009. The debentures are CAD$150M and they would be first in line (after a $22M facility) in the event of a default.
The valuation of First Uranium, as its operational woes continue, have to increasingly be looked with respect to what the asset value of operations would capture in the event of a bankruptcy proceeding. As long as the price of gold does not crash, there is value in the operations and debenture holders will likely be able to still make a fair recovery.
Most of the value of the debentures, assuming they are paid, will be in the form of capital gains so keeping these outside the RRSP is likely the best option – at 65 cents on the dollar, your split will be 1 part income to 3 parts capital gains, assuming they mature. Any resulting income will be taxed at around 62% of the income produced from the investment.