What: Franco-Nevada Corporation's (TSX:FNV) stock price rose nearly 33% last month. A good portion of that gain is directly attributable to the rise in gold prices, which started in mid-January. But there's more good things going on at Franco-Nevada that you should know about.
So what: Gold and silver prices have been heading higher. That directly benefits Franco-Nevada, which is a precious-metals streaming company. The streaming thing is pretty important, because Franco-Nevada has been able to use the precious-metals downturn to its advantage.
While miners have been hard pressed to pay their bills and continue to expand their operations, streaming companies have been growing their portfolios. That's because Franco-Nevada and its peers provide upfront cash for miners in exchange for the right to buy gold and silver at reduced prices in the future. So Franco-Nevada is more like a specialty finance company than a miner, only it gets "paid" in gold and silver that it then sells.
So while miners have been struggling to pay their bills amid falling precious-metals prices, Franco-Nevada and its brethren have been happily growing their businesses by giving miners a cash lifeline. Now that gold and silver prices are heading higher, Franco-Nevada is not only set to benefit, but its portfolio is also larger than it was when commodity prices hit the skids.
That brings up the next bit of news. On Feb. 10, Franco-Nevada announced a new $500 million streaming deal with Glencore. That's good, but here's the really interesting news: Franco-Nevada issued stock to help fund the deal. There was so much demand that it was able to enlarge the offering. In other words, investors like seeing Franco-Nevada push the accelerator on growth while the getting's good.
So what: So part of Franco-Nevada's price advance is directly tied to gold and silver prices. But there's likely another piece of that puzzle around investors' perception of the streaming company's growth prospects. And right now is the type of market in which Franco-Nevada can really cement some good deals that will drive earnings for years to come. An oversubscribed stock issuance is solid evidence that investors still like what they see for Franco-Nevada.