Cowal Mine Sale A Plus For Both Barrick And Evolution Mining

Cowal Mine Sale a Plus for Both Barrick and Evolution Mining

On Sunday, Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX,NYSE:ABX) announced plans to sell its New South Wales-based Cowal gold mine to Evolution Mining (OTCMKTS:CAHPF) for US$550 million. The deal has been praised by market watchers and appears beneficial for both parties.

The sale is mainly garnering support because it fits with Barrick's current goals of lowering its debt and reducing its presence in Australia. The company's release states that proceeds from the sale "will be used to pay down debt" and "will also contribute to reduced general and administrative costs" as it finishes closing its office in Perth.

Expanding, Kelvin Dushnisky, co-president of Barrick, said, "[t]he sale of Cowal is consistent with the strategy we have outlined to create long-term value for our owners, making a significant contribution to our debt reduction target while further focusing the geographic footprint of our portfolio."

As mentioned, market watchers agree that the sale is a good one for Barrick. Raymond James analyst Phil Russo told the Financial Post that Cowal is being sold at a 37-percent premium to the carrying value he's placed on the asset. Furthermore, Barrick plans to reduce its debt by $3 billion in 2015, and he sees the $550 million from the Cowal sale making a good dent in that amount.

Similarly, the Financial Post quotes Josh Wolfson of Dundee Capital Markets as saying that the deal is "priced slightly higher than comparable transactions."

A "transformational acquisition"

Given those comments about the high price paid for Cowal, investors might well wonder if Evolution is also getting a good deal. However, it seems like the answer to that question is a resounding "yes."