Frontier’s asset sale provides “excellent” alternative source of funds, says broker

March 12. Proactive Investors UK

By Giles Gwinnett

Frontier's asset sale provides "excellent" alternative source of funds, says brokerFrontier Mining’s (LON:FML) asset sale – of its Naimanjal licence in Kazakhstan – represents an “excellent” alternative source of funds to debt, reckons broker RFC Ambrian.

On Monday, the copper miner saw its shares surge as it agreed to dispose of subsidiary FML Kazakhstan, which holds Naimanjal, to Union Transnationale Miniere SA (UTM) for US$30million.

The company now intends to focus solely on stabilising operations at its flagship Benkala copper mine and developing the South Benkala resource.

The broker, which keeps its ‘hold’ stance, said: “This asset sale represents an excellent alternative source of funds, particularly given that the asset was ascribed a value of US$53mln in mid-2013 in an independent expert report by Wardell Armstrong.

“We had previously given no value to it as it only had historic resources; we had indicated that the asset may be worth up to £14mln, so the transaction value exceeded our expectation.”

It added the move should allow Frontier to restructure its debt to levels that could be serviced, assuming Frontier can achieve the production rates at Benkala targeted.

In April last year, when the firm unveiled new financing arrangements,  Ambrian estimated its total debt was sitting at between US$60 and US$64mln.

On Monday, Frontier’s chairman and chief executive Yerlan Aliyev told investors: “Given the market environment and position of our current financing counter parties, sale of assets was identified as the best method by which to finance capital expenditures at Benkala and pay back existing debts.”

He added: “The proceeds of this transaction will allow us to optimise copper cathode production at the Benkala SX-EW plant, paving the way towards increased production in the near future.”

In the 12 months to end of December 2013, 1,702 tonnes of copper cathode was produced as the firm continued its work to boost production rates and reduce costs. This was in line with previous guidance.

Frontier shares today rose 1.69% to 1.50p.

Frontier Mining Limited is a copper exploration and development company with a focus on Kazakhstan. The Company’s main activity is the Benkala Copper Project in North West Kazakhstan, which forms part of the Urals copper gold ore belt. Frontier has a 100% interest in Benkala through its subsidiary KazCopper LLP.