Gammon Gold (NYSE: GRS ) shareholders will delight in noting that this is no gag: The miner scored a majority vote in favor of its $420 million bid at Capital Gold's (AMEX: CGC ) rescheduled shareholder meeting on April Fool's Day. Backed by one of the gold industry's most visible and influential hedge funds (Sprott Asset Management), challenger Timmins Gold led a formidable fight.
In fact, until Gammon Gold stepped to the plate last week with phenomenal fourth-quarter earnings, Timmins' hostile bid held the upper hand on a valuation basis (although Gammon offered a greater cash component). After revealing record fourth-quarter revenue, and record operating cash flow of $35.6 million, Gammon shares gained sufficient momentum during recent days to grant its bid a superior valuation. The rest is now history, and the future for Gammon Gold has never looked brighter.
It seems that everything Gammon touches turns to gold lately, and Capital Gold's exciting growth profile based upon an impressive property portfolio shows no signs of interrupting that trend. The acquisition will prove easily accretive as Capital's assets boost Gammon's production profile immediately by 65,000 gold-equivalent ounces (GEOs) per year. Through ongoing enhancements at the company's flagship, low-cost El Chanate mine, and the planned fast-track development of the newly acquired Del Norte deposit for another 50,000 GEOs per year, Gammon will access a game-changing production growth spurt as these assets alone achieve 120,000 ounces by 2013.
Gammon's purchase price of $280 per ounce of gold reserves identified at El Chanate represents an attractive bargain for a highly profitably mining operation; even if that were the extent of the assets obtained. Fools may recall that Royal Gold (Nasdaq: RGLD ) paid about the same price per ounce -- two years ago -- for its attributable interest in gold production from Teck Resources' (NYSE: TCK ) Andacollo copper mine. At the time, gold fetched only $880 per ounce, or 38% less then the current spot price! Since Capital Gold's total cost per ounce amounted to 42.5% of per-ounce revenue in its fiscal second quarter, even factoring in the cost differential between the two transactions presents the Capital Gold acquisition as a bargain under the circumstances.
Meanwhile, Gammon's pre-existing asset portfolio was already beautifully poised for a substantial growth spurt of its own. The miner continues to open new deposits within the flagship Ocampo mine to production, and resumed production from the El Cubo mine (following a disruptive labor impasse) is now imminent. The longer-term development pipeline continues to shine with highly successful exploration results at Guadelupe y Calvo, and investors can now look to the release of a preliminary economic assessment for that property during the second quarter as another looming catalyst for further upside in Gammon shares. As further icing on that cake, Capital Gold's underexplored Saric property now joins this expansive and promising development pipeline.
With this transformative acquisition now secured, Gammon's pole position among my top 10 gold or silver stocks for 2011 has never looked more fully deserved. As Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY ) has done in the case of Brazil, and Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM ) up in Canada, Gammon has now built a dominant market presence among mid-tier miners in Mexico that makes it a leading choice for concentrated investment exposure within that particular jurisdiction. As such, Gammon will likely find itself in a natural position to serve as a leading consolidator of junior gold properties in Mexico, and this Fool expects substantial upside from the shares going forward.