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As a fitting encore to its virtuoso performance in one of the silver industry's standout success stories, First Majestic Silver (NYSE: AG ) is preparing to take up another instrument. To the symphony already emanating from its trio of producing silver mines in Mexico, the company will now add a guitar.
The La Guitarra mine had not been properly strummed by prior operator Genco Resources, but in the brief period since Silvermex Resources (OTC: GGCRF.PK) acquired the asset in late 2010, the instrument has been more finely tuned. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Duane Nelson, Silvermex achieved production at La Guitarra's existing mill capacity of 320 tons per day and delivered net profit of $3.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2011. Silvermex expects 2012 production at La Guitarra of 500,000 ounces silver and 5,000 ounces gold (for 750,000 silver-equivalent ounces).
Enjoying these clear notes but, more importantly, the muffled music heard echoing beneath the surface of this highly prospective district-scale land holding, First Majestic Silver wants to strum these strings. The companies announced a friendly acquisition Tuesday, whereby First Majestic will acquire Silvermex in a predominantly stock-based transaction valuing Silvermex shares at C$0.60 (a 33% premium to their pre-announcement close).
As a shareholder in both companies, I am thrilled by the move. I had very bullish long-term expectations for Silvermex shares, and under most circumstances I would be disappointed to watch a targeted growth opportunity subsumed under a larger umbrella. But First Majestic is an extraordinary and proven operator with a tremendous management team a vision for its continued growth. After meeting with First Majestic CEO Keith Neumeyer and COO Ramon Davila in Toronto last month, I shared with my readers the secrets of their noteworthy success.
Moreover, in the midst of yet another downward push in this prolonged bout of relative weakness from the mining equities at large, I find the acquiring shares so profoundly undervalued relative to the sustained growth trajectory ahead of this company that I expect First Majestic shares to exceed even the powerful performance I envisioned from Silvermex alone. Fools may recall that Minefinders CEO Mark Bailey saw the deeply undervalued condition of Pan American Silver (Nasdaq: PAAS ) shares as a feather in the cap of that acquisition.
With first production from the Del Toro mine anticipated for later this year, which will then evolve (in stages) into First Majestic's largest operation, I maintain that the recent pullback in these shares offers an extremely compelling choice for deeply discounted silver exposure. With the addition of Silvermex's La Guitarra mine and its portfolio of exploration properties in Mexico, First Majestic Silver has secured an additional growth pipeline even beyond the 16 million silver-equivalent-ounce mark (targeted by 2014). Although I dig the sustained growth trajectory ahead of smaller competitor Endeavour Silver (NYSE: EXK ) , First Majestic's growth outlook is belongs in another category, and it's music to my ears.