Uranium Companies in Play as Net Assets Exceed Shares: Real M&A
Comment of the Day

April 14 2011

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Uranium Companies in Play as Net Assets Exceed Shares: Real M&A

This detailed article by Tara Lachapelle, Rita Nazareth and Christopher Donville is sure to be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:
"The damage from the Japanese disaster hasn't been fully assessed. The initial reaction was to stop everything," said John Kinsey, a Toronto-based portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd., which invests in uranium producers as part of overseeing about C$1 billion. "It's a temporary hiatus, things will go back to normal and merger activity will start up again."

China has 13 nuclear reactors and 27 under construction, according to the World Nuclear Association's website. India plans to supply a quarter of electricity from nuclear reactors by 2050, up from 2.5 percent in 2007, the association said.

"The Chinese may tweak their nuclear plans, but they're not going to walk away from them," Kinsey said.

State-Owned Acquirers
State-owned companies are the most likely acquirers, including China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group and ARMZ Uranium Holding Co., a unit of Russia's Rosatom, said John Wong, a London-based fund manager at New City Investment Managers Ltd. who helps oversee about $1 billion, including shares of Cameco.

"Anything that has anything to do with nuclear energy or uranium just got dumped," said Ben Mackovak, senior analyst at Charlottesville, Virginia-based hedge fund Rivanna Capital LLC, which owns about 2 million shares of uranium company USEC Inc. "Longer term the simple fact is that nuclear energy is part of the energy equation -- it has to be."

Overall, there have been 6,961 deals announced globally this year, totaling $701.5 billion, a 32 percent increase from the $532.3 billion in the same period in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Eoin Treacy's view The Japanese nuclear crisis doused speculative interest in the uranium sector for the medium-term. The uranium futures price broke out of a two year base in November and rallied to a medium-term peak of $73. Following the tsunami and resulting nuclear accident at Fukushima it collapsed back to test the 200-day MA, above which it has held for the last month. News flow from Japan continues to deteriorate and this is acting as a headwind on the sector. Investor interest is likely to remain cautious as long as the outcome of the Japanese crisis remains uncertain.

A number of shares which had bounced last month in a short covering rally have now retraced a large part of their advances. If the uranium price can hold mostly above $55 and form a first step above the base, then the medium-term outlook for the sector will be on a somewhat more sanguine.

This table of 36 shares and funds with an interest in uranium miners has 10 trading at below their book values; where such data is quoted. At some point merger activity will pick up but it is probably still too early for such a development considering the deteriorating Japanese situation.

Extract Resources, in which Geiger Counter has a large holding, has been one of the sector's better relative performers. It found at least short-term support at the lower side of the 18-month range and retraced more than half its decline. The medium-term upside can continue to be given the benefit of the doubt provided it holds above the A$6 region.

Mawson Resources has a market cap of C$130 million and explores for uranium and gold. It is the only share in the above table to have moved to a new recovery high. A sustained move below the 200-day MA, currently near C$1.50 would be required to check potential for additional medium-term upside.

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