April 15, 1996
Ashanti Goldfields Company Limited (ASL on NYSE, AHD on TSE) Accra, Ghana (233) 21-776501, owns and operates one of the oldest, largest and richest gold mines in the world, located at Obuasi in Ghana. The co. is currently producing 1 million Oz. a year at this site and at that rate most likely has reserves for the next 30 years. ASL has been expanding into other African countries through exploration and acquisitions and has a target of producing 2 million Oz of gold annually by year 2000. The shares which moved from NASDAQ to the NYSE on Feb 21/96 began trading at $25 and currently trade at $22.25. As additional reserves are announced, the stock stands the chance of gaining to the $30 level over the next year. The recently issued 5.5% convertible note, exchangable for shares at $27/sh, is due to trade also on the NYSE.
Birim Goldfields Inc. (BIRM on the CDN-OTC) Montreal,Que.(514) 393-8611 first mentioned on these pages at $0.80 on Nov 15/95 has been a standout stock performer, currently trading at $3.75. The co. recently announced further drill hole results on the Mampon gold zone that extends the size of mineralization. So far, prospects for 6 to 9 such zones have been identified on the Dunkwa property in Ghana, a joint venture with Toronto-based Hemlo Gold Mines. A stock price target of $7.50 over the next few months is within the realm of possibility.
Ensign Resource Service Group Inc. (ESI on the TSE) Calgary, Alberta (403) 262-1361 mentioned at $8.50 in our letter of Feb 15/96, currently trades at $10.50 and yields almost 2% on the 20 cents dividend. Earnings for 1995 of $0.89/sh were short of the $0.90 estimate because of reduced rates charged by oil drilling contractors. So far in 1996, utilization and rates have firmed up. Oil & gas wells to be drilled in western Canada are expected at 11,300 this year compared with 11,062 in 1995 and the higher 11,871 wells in 1994. Net profits should come in at about $1.10/sh in 1996 and therefore a near term price of $12.50 appears attainable, with $15 a target over the next year. Some smart money managers have been adding to their holdings. For example, C.A. Delaney Capital Management now reports holding 10.6% of issued shares.
Franc-Or Resources Corporation (FOR on TSE) Montreal,Que.(514) 861-5323 has three things going in French Guiana. Firstly, the 121.5 sq.km Haute Mana Project where 4 potentially large gold zones have been identified. Secondly, the 50 sq. km St-Pierre Project gold property in which Homestake Mining Company can earn a 70% interest. And now, thirdly, the possibility of diamonds existing in kimberlitic type deposits similar to that discovered by Golden Star's subsidiary Guyanor Ressources SA at Dachine, French Guiana. More trenching and sampling are required at Haute Mana before diamond drilling can commence in June, while the program with Homestake will require similar preparatory work which means drilling on that very promising property may not begin until August of this year. The stock currently trading at $1.15, up from the level of $0.55 mentioned in our letter of August 28/95 most likely shows the greatest price increase potential of those companies we currently follow.
Newcourt Credit Group Inc. ( NCT on TSE, ME) Toronto, On. (416) 981-9500, first mentioned at $24 in our letter of Feb 15/96 and now trading at $30, has announced its first deal in public/private infrastructure financing. This takes the form of $61 million in toll revenue bonds in the construction of a stretch of the Trans Canada Highway in Nova Scotia. This form of private financing in what has always been the domain of the public sector is an example of the avant-garde methods Newcourt is generating and is part of a portfolio of opportunities valued at $2 billion. The co. is forecasting earnings of $41.5 million in 1996, or $1.82/sh, a 40% increase over the $29.5 million and $1.52/sh in 1995. We are now prepared to place a share price target of $35 over the next 6 months.
Procoloro Resources Inc. (PCH on the ME) Val d'Or, Que (819) 874-6200 was first mentioned in our letter of Aug 28/95 when trading at $1.05. With the current price at $3.35, we consider the stock fully valued and therefore will cease to follow, unless a change in fundamentals occur.
Strike Energy Inc. (SEN on the TSE) Calgary, Alberta (403) 233-6400. We mentioned SEN in our letter of Aug 28/95 when at $3. The stock currently trades at $3.40. The company announced on March 21, 1996 that they have entered into an agreement to be merged into Tarragon Oil and Gas Limited (TN on the TSE and ME) currently trading at $12.75, on the basis of 1 share TN for every 3.68 shs. of SEN. We will therefore cease commenting on Strike. We will attempt to get to know Tarragon.
Transat A.T. Inc. (TRZ on TSE and ME) Montreal, Que. (514)476-1011 ext 3028, first mentioned in this newsletter at $10.50 on Feb 15, currently trades at $18. The co. anticipates improved earnings for 1996, so that the estimates of $2.25 to $2.50 for 1996 and cash flow generated of $4.40/sh now bear greater visibility. Because the product mix consists of more than just airline carrier, viz. travel services, travel agency, tour operations and airport handling services, a case can be made for a stock price/cash flow higher than one for carrier service alone, i.e. 5 times instead of 4 times. We are therefore raising our target price to $22 from $17. TRZ appears well funded with $46 million in cash, equivalent to $6.70/sh on 6.8 million shs. issued.