This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Fortuna Readies to Ride the Silver Price Rally

NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- If silver prices can sustain their recent rally, Fortuna Silver Mines (FSM - Get Report) is poised to deliver a knock-out punch.

Fortuna is a little known silver company with two operating underground mines in Peru and Mexico and a killer growth rate. Silver production popped 31% in 2011 while gold production grew 174%. The miner is on track to produce 3.7 million ounces of silver and 17,000 ounces of gold this year, with production growing to 5 million ounces and 26,000 ounces, respectively by 2014 -- that is a double digit growth rate at a time when other miners like Newmont Mining (NEM - Get Report) are struggling to just replenish their reserve base.

The company has no debt, working capital of $70 million and no plans to issue equity or raise cash -- unless it buys another exploration property and brings it into production, something it is actively pursuing.

Before Fortuna catapults into a big time silver miner, it must overcome some big problems. First, no one knows about it. Average volume traded is well under 200,000. Fortuna's market cap is $844 million compared to other small silver producers like Silvercorp (SVM), which has run into legal trouble over its operations in China and still has a market cap of more than $1 billion. CEO Jorge Ganoza hopes that the company's big growth profile and recent listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will help draw investors.

"We have a very concrete growth plan in terms of reserves," he says, "so the company is well poised to capitalize on all those opportunities, and it was the right time to list in New York and to increase our exposure to New York based institutions."

The volatile silver price is also a mixed bag for the company's popularity. In 2011, shares of Fortuna were up up 15%, while silver was down 10%. This year the two have moved in tandem, with silver up 17% and Fortuna up 15%. The stock is able to decouple from the silver price if the company delivers killer growth, but it can also move with silver, leaving it susceptible to a correction if the precious metal sells off.

Canaccord Genuity, which rates Fortuna as a speculative buy, recently lowered its 2012 silver price forecast to $33.50 from $40 an ounce with their peak silver price dropping from $40 to $35 an ounce.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

James Steel, analyst at HSBC, says that silver prices could average $34 an ounce in 2012 but says that low interest rates from the Federal Reserve is bullish for silver and a "pretty good foundation from which to move higher. Until we see [a positive] real rate it is going to be hard to call an end to the investor component in the silver rally." The real interest rate is calculated by subtracting the inflation rate from the interest rate and it is currently at a negative 2.2%.

Steel also sees industrial demand for silver, which makes up half of total demand, growing 18 million ounces in 2012, 28% lower than 2011, but says strong bar, coin and ETF demand will lend some support to prices.

Harwood Securities, which has a sector outperform rating on Fortuna Silver, also lowered its near-term silver price forecast by 18% from $36 in 2012 to $29.50 in 2014, but said Fortuna's production growth, especially as its San Jose mine in Mexico expands, will make up for a fall in the silver price. Haywood expects the company to deliver 14% growth in cash flow from 2012 to 2014, earning 84 cents a share.

While Fortuna tries to manage volatile silver prices, cash costs are also expanding. It costs $6-$8 to produce an ounce of silver, but counting gold sales, cash cost were $1.45 in the third quarter, a 147% increase from the same period a year earlier.
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
SVM $0.70 2.90%
FSM $6.42 0.00%
NEM $34.97 0.00%
SLV $16.98 0.00%
SIVR $17.49 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs