(By Mani) Shares of Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE:MCP) fell 12 percent after it announced a $480 million fund raising on Friday to ramp up production at is Mountain Pass mine in California. However, shares are recovered to close at $10.02 Monday.
The financing package consisted of $120 million in equity, priced at $10 apiece, and senior convertible bonds for the remainder with a 6 percent coupon and a $12.00 conversion price. This will give the company a cash cushion to overcome any unforeseen issues during the ramp.
The company is revamping its Mountain Pass mine that is estimated to cost $895 million. Despite the fund raise, investors are concerned that the though the funding may boost balance sheet, the ramp up risk still remains.
"The size of the deal does perhaps point to management's confidence in the ramp up at Mountain Pass. Should production not meet our conservative assumptions, the company could have less than the $230MM cash cushion we are forecasting through 2013," CIBC analyst Matthew Gibson said in a client note.
Molycorp's Project Phoenix remains on-time to ramp up production at Mountain Pass to a Phase 1 rate of 19,050 metric tons (mt) per year in the fourth quarter of 2012, and to complete its Phase 2 capacity of 40,000 mt by year end.
However, the company's valuation is cheap, and spot prices of rare earth oxides were stabilizing. During the second quarter, the company had an average sales price of $52.48 per kg of rare earth oxide (REO) equivalent product.
Average sales prices for rare earth products were positively influenced in the quarter by value-added customized rare earth products from Molycorp Canada. The company also sold 93 mt of rare metals at an average sales price of $187.85 per kilogram.
As of Aug. 2, Molycorp reaffirmed its annual production of REO equivalent products to be in the range of 8,000 mt to 10,000 mt for the full year across its Mountain Pass, Sillamäe and Tolleson facilities, which does not include production from its newly acquired Molycorp Canada operations.
The company continues to believe it is well positioned for year-over-year sales growth given the Mountain Pass ramp-up, existing customer orders, a growing pipeline of global business opportunities, and its acquisitions.
Molycorp, the owner of the largest rare-earth deposit outside China, produces rare-earth metals such as niobium and tantalum, and rare-earth alloys such as neodymium-iron-boron and samarium-cobalt alloys.
The rare earths and rare metals that Molycorp produces are critical inputs in existing and emerging applications including hybrid and electric vehicles and wind power turbines; fiber optics, lasers and hard disk drives; guidance and control systems and global positioning systems; advanced water treatment technology for use in industrial, military and outdoor recreation applications; and other technologies.
The company's Mountain Pass mine is now commissioning its separation lines for cerium,lanthanum, neodymium, and praseodymium.
"We expect the next material catalyst to be Q3 earnings in late Oct/early Nov with some of this new production impacting results," Gibson said.
Excess cash from the latest financing can be used to refurbish Silmet, continue expansions at Chinese facilities, or build out alloy capacity at Tolleson. The neodymium (NdFeB) magnet manufacturing JV in Japan should not be material to financials in 2013; however, should expansion be expedited, this could be another use for cash. The company expects to begin manufacturing next-generation, sintered NdFeB permanent rare earth magnets in early 2013.