Atomredmetzoloto's (ARMZ) recent buyout of Uranium One (TSX:UUU) is the latest strategic move in Russia's quest to dominate the world's energy markets. The world's largest producer of crude oil and second-largest producer of natural gas, Russia also holds demi-god status in the nuclear power industry and has aggressively been staking out a position in the uranium industry.
In 2010, ARMZ acquired a 51.4-percent majority stake in the Canada-based producer, which holds projects in Kazakhstan, Australia and the US. Earlier this month, the Russian company offered $1.3 billion to buy up the remaining shares; it plans to take the uranium miner private. Investors have been hitting the message boards to share their thoughts on the deal, with many decrying what they view as too low a price at a time when most feel that the uranium market is at the precipice of an upswing. For others, the deal is yet another positive signal that industry heavies like Russia's ARMZ know we're at a bottom and the time is ripe for picking up assets at bargain prices. “The whole sector is currently undervalued, and the timing by ARMZ is exceptional as they are buying assets at the bottom of the market,” Marin Katusa, chief energy investment strategist at Casey Research, explained to Uranium Investing News in an interview. “It's a smart move by the Russians in my view,” Mark Lackey, executive vice president of CHF Investor Relations, told Uranium Investing News. “They've determined by looking at the market conditions that uranium prices will go higher and right now is a very good time for acquiring assets.” Lackey, a former senior manager of commodities at the Bank of Montreal, sees the uranium spot price reaching $65 per pound U3O8 by the end of this year and expects more consolidation in the uranium sector in 2013 and beyond. “Companies are beginning to make M&A moves; for example, Denison Mines' (TSX:DML,AMEX:DNN) recent acquisition of Fission Energy (TSXV:FIS).”