This market loves to punish Yamana Gold
Sure, it's a slippery slope to ascribe human emotion to a stock exchange, but when a bargain this clear continues to languish in the shadows of a sector that's exhibiting enormous strength, rational explanations become rarer than gold.
Yamana reported a 103% increase in cash flow for the first quarter of 2010, thanks in large measure to the industry's golden standard in mining costs with an average per-ounce tally of just $161 per ounce. Incredibly, the company envisions that cost shrinking throughout the year as production rates increase at key operations. Factoring in the rising price of gold, Yamana experienced a solid 67% expansion of gross margin to average $842 per gold-equivalent ounce (GEO). Lest we forget, it wasn't so long ago that gold's spot price sat below Yamana's latest per-ounce gross margin!
Providing an alluring value comparison, both Yamana and midtier rival Agnico-Eagle Mines
Between the two, Yamana holds more cash on its balance sheet, with $222 million, and its long-term debt burden stands some $231 million below Agnico's.
Both Yamana and Agnico-Eagle Mines are looking to grow sustainable annual production levels over the next few years, from just over 1 million ounces to 1.5 million ounces and 1.4 million ounces, respectively.
Both operators boast of substantial opportunities to enhance their existing high-quality ore reserves through aggressive exploration of existing gold deposits. Alongside those of larger competitor Goldcorp
I have made no secret of my contention that Agnico-Eagle Mines represents a seriously undervalued gem within the gold patch. And yet, despite the striking similarities between their respective growth and production profiles, and Yamana's clear edge with respect to production costs, Agnico's market capitalization exceeds that of Yamana by nearly $2 billion. Now, one can argue that some of that relative discount is justifiable on the basis of Yamana's nagging issues of derivatives exposures and uncertain commitment to the best interests of shareholders, but in no way do I believe a discrepancy of that magnitude can be rationalized.
If Agnico-Eagle shares remain cheap, and I strongly believe they are, then Yamana Gold remains the ultimate bargain among the larger midtier miners.