Why Have Gurus Lost Faith in Golden Star? [/b]Despite aggressive expansion over the past decade, the Toronto-based gold mining firm has not been able to take advantage of its increased production output. Gold prices might have exploded over a ten-year period, yet the recent six-month decline has put a huge strain on Golden Star. The expedited maturation of its mines is particularly troubling, since the accelerated extraction rates, which allowed for short-term profits, are now falling considerably. The impact of the company’s excessive overproduction on profits and growth is clear: decreasing gold reserves mean less production, and thus reduced revenue for the gold miner. When the decline in metal prices are taken into account, the outlook is even more grim.
In addition to overexpansion at the wrong time, Golden Star’s position has weakened due to its comparably less efficient operations. Unlike industry peers, such as [b]IamGold Corp. (IAG) or Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI), the majority of the Toronto-based miner’s assets contain refractory ore, which is far more expensive to extract than non refractory ore. And, in an attempt to switch production to the lower cost gold ore, and thus increase margins, Golden Star has depleted its mines’ non refractory ore. With low reserves and mounting cash costs, the firm inevitably turned to new acquisitions.
Overpriced Acquisitions and Geopolitical Risk [/b]The purchase of new assets, which recently turned out to be overvalued due to the drop in gold prices, is haunting Golden Star. Impairment costs and low operating margins stemming from the acquisition of overpriced mines, has resulted in significant financial losses. In addition, the company faces considerable geopolitical risks. Ghana’s government has not only seen political unrest, but also has a 10% stake in the Bogoso and Wassa mines. Shareholders are naturally uneasy about government involvement in Golden Star’s operations, especially due to the volatility of the region. By concentrating all of its assets in Ghana, the firm’s risk profile has increased significantly.
[b]Bottom Line [/b]Apart from mounting debt levels and shrinking margins, the firm’s operational problems and poor product mix shifts, have led to recurring operating losses. Also, as cash flows are nullified, new acquisitions are not feasible. Unlike other troubled competitors such as [b]Barrick Gold Corp (ABX), Golden Star’s balance sheet is simply not strong enough to deal with so many set-backs. Hence, it comes as little surprise that previously bullish gurus have recently sold their entire stake in the firm. I would do the same, as this company’s future is not only grim, but could even include bankruptcy in the near future due to a lack of funds.
Disclosure: Patricio Kehoe holds no position in any stocks mentioned.