First Majestic expands Mexico footprint with $320M Primero Mining acquisition

First Majestic describes the San Dimas silver-gold mine as a low-cost asset with more than 100 years of production. (Image from Primero Mining’s Facebook Page.)

Canada’s First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) (TSX:FR) has agreed to buy fellow miner Primero Mining (TSX:P) in a cash and stock deal valued at $320 million, including debt.

With the acquisition, the Mexico-focused company gains access to Primero’s flagship asset, the San Dimas silver-gold mine, located in what First Majestic defines as it “backyard”, in the state of Durango.

As a result of the transaction, Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE, TSX: WPM) — the world’s largest pure silver and gold streaming company — has ended its existing San Dimas silver purchase agreement with Primero, replacing it with a fresh contract with the mine’s new owner.

With the friendly takeover First Majestic gains Primero’s flagship asset, the San Dimas silver-gold mine, located in the state of Durango.

“San Dimas has operated for over 130 years and is the mine Wheaton was founded on in 2004,” Randy Smallwood, President and CEO of Wheaton said in the statement. “With the new streaming arrangement being linked to a combination of gold and silver production, we believe San Dimas will continue to deliver significant value to Wheaton for many years to come while also providing economic and social opportunities to the community of Tayoltita,” he noted.

“The acquisition of Primero (…) further enhances First Majestic’s operating platform, adding a very high-quality, long-lived asset in San Dimas,” Keith Neumeyer, chief executive officer of First Majestic, said in a statement. “Most importantly, the new stream and related amendments with WPM repositions the asset by maximizing silver exposure for our shareholders, while significantly increasing the free cash flow from San Dimas.”

First Majestic’s takeover of Primero implies consideration of C$0.30/share, based on the 20-day volume weighted average price of AG shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange through Jan. 10, representing a 200% premium to the weighted average price of Primero common shares on the TSX over the period, the company said in the statement.

Primero and First Majestic have held talks with Mexican authorities in an effort to resolve a tax dispute involving San Dimas’s silver production for the years 2010 to 2014, First Majestic said. These discussions will continue, although with no certainty on the timing or outcome.

First Majestic expands Mexico footprint with $320M Primero Mining acquisition

First Majestic’s La Encantada silver mine is the company’s largest operation in Mexico. (Image: First Majestic Silver Corp.)

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