The company has run into all kinds of trouble, ranging from not meeting production guidance to waste pond leakage.
A reader asked my opinion on Talvivaara's situation right now as stock price in Helsinki has been swinging from 1 euro level to above 1,20 euros in last two weeks closing today at 1,13 euros. Frankly, I don't think short term price movement really mean anything. A stock can go from 2 to 4 euros only to fall back to 1. The price has to be related to per-share earnings, dividends etc. i.e. what you really get for your share. Even if tiny piece of company, it's still a piece of the real thing.
Talvivaara makes loss so valuating it is hard to begin with. Even looking at profits it may eventually get from its vast mineral resources is meaningless because it's very hard to predict what will be the amount of shares out there at the time when dividends start to roll in.
There is a good arcticle in Seeking Alpha regarding The Dangers (And Benefits) of Share Dilution. The article illustrates one hypothetical case of share dilution. I'll make another illustration here:
Company A is currently experiencing problems and needs more money to fund its operations. The company has potential to earn steady 1 euros per share annual profit once it fixes all the problems it currently has. Market expects it to get all funding it needs and values it at future P/E 10 at the moment. Thus, share price is 10 euros per share.
The company decides to issue more shares and sell them to investors so that the number of outstanding shares is doubled. This means that future expected per share earnings are halved to 0,5 euros per share. Assuming that the company is still valued at future P/E 10, the share price is also cut half - i.e. to 5 euros.
Back to Talvivaara.
I think it's very difficult to value Talvivaara right now. Certainly all my previous analysis will be void by the time Talvivaara has completed issuing new shares in the massive way it now plans.
With Solidium (i.e. Finnish Government) and other major shareholders backing Talvivaara the likelihood of going totally out of business seems low at the moment provided that they really get soon their act together and return profitable. They are bleeding cash (-60 million EUR in Q4 2012 alone) so even after getting more money via rights issue they can not continue like that for very long.
The proposed EUR 260 million Rights Issue may mean up to 26 billion new shares subject to shareholders' pre-emptive subscription right. Unless you pay more you probably get seriously diluted.
I am certainly going to avoid the Talvivaara stock until
1) they are done issuing new shares
2) they return profitable
3) there is clear evidence that they get the Nickel production running at 30.000 tonnes per year level, which was the original target.
And even after that it's going to depend on how the environmental side of things look and also what's their debt level like. I would expect the turnaround to take quite some time.
In addition to the already mentioned rights issue they seem also be proposing to the extraordinary general meeting of the Company to be held on 8 March 2013:
- Authorising the Board of Directors to decide to issue new shares and/or special rights entitling to shares in deviation from the pre-emptive subscription rights of the shareholders
- ...authorisation to the Board of Directors to decide to issue up to 600,000,000 new shares
- There is now 272 million shares.
- They might issue up to 26000 million shares subject to shareholders' pre-emptive subscription right
- And then they might issue up to 600 million shares basically in any way they please
I have gone through many companies in resource sector and I have to say that I have seen cases where existing shareholders have been diluted quite seriously. Impossible to know how it's going to go in case of Talvivaara, but be warned.
I want to borrow the ending from the Seeking Alpha -article I referred to:
"If you believe a stock offering is imminent, you’ll likely want to stay on the sidelines until after the latest round of dilution."
Full disclosure February 23rd, 2013: The author does not own Talvivaara stock nor has any other kind of position that would benefit in from movement of Talvivaara stock price.