Silvercorp walks away from bid to buy Guyana Goldfields

Aerial view of the pit at the Aurora gold mine in Guyana. (Image courtesy of Guyana Goldfields.)

Canada’s Silvercorp Metals (TSX, NYSE: SVM) has decided not to match a third-party superior bid for Guyana Goldfields (TSX: GUY), and said that if the takeover target terminates an agreement they signed in April, it would have to pay the company C$9 million ($6.7m).

The Vancouver-based miner, which produces silver, lead and zinc from mines in China, originally offered C$105 million (about $75m) for Guyana Goldfields. It later upped the offer to C$227 million, as Gran Colombia Gold (TSX: GCM) submitted a separate, rival proposal.

Guyana said last week it had received yet another bid from an unnamed “foreign-based multinational miner.” The offer valued the company at C$323 million ($240m), which was 35% higher than Silvercorp’s sweetened offer.

Guyana said last week it had received yet another bid from an unnamed “foreign-based multinational miner”

The Toronto-based miner gave Silvercorp five business days to match or improve the $1.85 cash-per-share new bid. It noted, however, that the fresh offer wouldn’t necessarily lead to a termination of the agreement with Silvercorp.

Ripple effect

Guyana has been under investor pressure due to the poor performance of its only operating mine, Aurora, following a resources review. 

The mid-tier gold producer shocked the market in March last year by announcing the amount of gold in proven and probable reserves at Aurora had declined by almost 1.7 million ounces, compared to estimates published in 2018. 

The news triggered a bitter battle for control of the company led by founder and former chairman Patrick Sheridan, which was settled in April 2019. The deal included the appointment of an interim director and chief executive, who was replaced in January by Alan Pangbourne, Guyana’s current president and CEO.

Shares in the company fell to the lowest since 2008 in October, after the embattled Canadian miner revealed Aurora would fail to meet production guidance. The company added that a mine plan review was underway.

Guyana Goldfields’ share price steadily declined after that. It began the year at 69 Canadian cents and closed at C1.75 a share on Wednesday.