In a world in which previous assumptions about risk and reward have been absolutely shattered, and most investors are nursing financial wounds, the natural reaction is to adapt by paring perceptible risks.
In early March, Teck Cominco
Those who held on have been rewarded handsomely, most recently with a triple whammy of reworked terms for repayment of debt, passable earnings results, and Canada's own adoption of quantitative easing as fiscal stimulus. Shares gained more than 30% Tuesday, good for nearly a four-bagger from the recent 52-week low. The renegotiated debt terms provided the greatest cause for optimism, deferring $4.4 billion of the $6.3 billion that had been due during 2009. With a cash position of $1.6 billion, positive cash flow from all major operations, and strong pricing contracts for a big chunk of 2009 coal sales, Teck is certainly less of a wreck.
Teck's risk profile has improved materially with these developments, but let's refrain from calling this near-four-bagger a home run just yet. Fresh revelations from coal miners like Peabody Energy
Teck will continue to pursue asset sales, including remaining gold projects and a stake in the same Elk Valley coal project that created this debt in the first place. Interestingly, the company revealed less interest than I anticipated in unloading its stake in the Fort Hills oil sands joint venture with Petro-Canada
Like similarly challenged DryShips