Silvercorp Metals is having a roller coaster of a day after announcing that there has been a dramatic increase in the short position of its shares over the past two months which is now approximately 23 million shares, or 13 per cent of the total outstanding shares. Late yesterday afternoon, the company said it was forwarded a copy of an anonymous letter dated Aug. 29, 2011 addressed to the Ontario Securities Commission, the company's auditors, and various media outlets maliciously alleging a "Potential $1.3-bllion accounting fraud at Silvercorp." The anonymous author also stated that his firm held a short position in the company's shares and intended to make his concerns known through internet postings.
The company said it has not confirmed whether the letter has been disseminated to all the addressees or if any postings have been made. "Recognizing that the anonymous letter may be disseminated the company wishes to proactively respond to the most serious allegations and has posted supporting information on its website to provide investors with comfort regarding the allegations made in the anonymous letter," it said. The stock opened at $7.65 compared to a previous close of $8.23, but it ran up to $8.40 in the early minutes before returning to negative territory again.
COM DEV International Ltd., a global provider of space hardware and services, jumped 6 per cent early today after announcing net income attributable to shareholders in third quarter was $4.2-million or $0.05 per share, an increase of around $6-million compared to a net loss of $1.7-million or $0.02 per share in the third quarter of 2010. Revenue was down 4 per cent at $50.5-million. New orders won in the third quarter totalled $47-million, compared to $47-million a year earlier and $28-million in the second quarter of 2011. When expected follow-on orders from current Authority to Proceed (ATP) contracts are considered, the third quarter total reached $74-million compared to $69-million a year earlier, and $42-million in the second quarter of 2011. Backlog at July 31, 2011 was $123-million, plus an additional $27-million in follow-on orders expected from ATPs already awarded, for an expected backlog of $150-million, up from an expected total backlog of $144-million a year earlier.
Polar Star Mining Corporation touched 70 cents early Friday after providing an update on progress toward the restart of gold and copper concentrate production at the company's Chepica Mine in Chile. It said mining is scheduled to commence in mid-September 2011, and sales in October 2011, at the rate of 1,000 ounces of gold plus additional credits for copper and silver.
Debt-ridden packaged ice maker Arctic Glacier Income fund announced that the fund's secured lenders have extended the period during which they have waived compliance with certain financial covenants under its credit facilities up to and including Sept. 9, 2011. The fund was in breach of financial covenants governing maximum leverage ratio, interest coverage ratio, fixed charge coverage ratio and minimum EBITDA levels under its credit facilities as at June 30, 2011. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, on July 29, 2011, the fund's secured lenders waived compliance with those covenants for the quarter ended June 30, 2011 until Sept. 1, 2011. Arctic Glacier said it is continuing active discussions with its lenders to amend certain terms of the credit agreements for future quarters, although there can be no assurance that such amendments will be approved.
Specialty chip maker Zarlink Semiconductor edged lower early Friday despite saying yesterday it expects a white knight to beat a hostile $550-million or $3.35 a share takeover offer already on the table from U.S. rival Microsemi. Zarlink, which gained 3 per cent on Thursday and had been trading near a year high $3.77, added it is in talks with at least 15 potential buyers.
Sterling Resources Ltd. announced that its wholly-owned Netherlands subsidiary has signed a farm-out agreement with Petro Ventures Netherlands B.V. covering its licenses within the F-Quad and L-Quad offshore Netherlands.
Subject to governmental and co-venturer approvals, Sterling Netherlands as operator will now hold a 25 per cent working interest, Energie Beheer Nederland BV will hold 40 per cent, Petro Ventures Netherlands B.V. will hold 25 per cent and Grove Energy Limited (a subsidiary of Enquest PLC) will hold the remaining 10 per cent.
Mining Corp. announced that it has filed a National Instrument (NI) 43-101 Technical Report dated Aug. 31, 2011, with respect to Excelsior's resource estimate on the North Star Deposit, announced in a July 19, 2011 press release. The report confirms no changes in the resource estimate from the July 19th release, which stated an indicated oxide copper (Cu) resource of 511 million tons at 0.31% Cu and an additional inferred resource of 159 million tons at 0.28% Cu for the North Star Deposit, which is part of the Gunnison Copper Property located within the copper porphyry belt in southern Arizona.
Alterra Power Corp. announced that John Carson has been appointed as chief executive officer to effect a split of the roles of Chairman and CEO, both of which had been held by Ross Beaty, who will remain executive chairman. Carson has been executive vice president of Alterra since early this year when he joined Alterra's predecessor company Magma Energy after many years in senior financial management roles with large US-based renewable energy companies.
US Gold Corporation UXG-T and Minera Andes Inc. MAI-T provided an update on their proposed merger. Following the June 14, 2011 announcement of Rob McEwen's proposal to merge US Gold and Minera Andes, each of the companies' boards of directors established an independent special committee to consider the proposed merger and each of the companies has been conducting due diligence on the other. Each of the special committee of Minera Andes and US Gold has retained independent financial advisers and legal counsel and has been considering the transaction, with input from those advisers.
Based upon the input of their independent financial advisers, each special committee has directed its legal counsel to continue due diligence and begin negotiation of binding transaction agreements at a ratio of 0.45 of a US Gold common share for each 1.0 Minera Andes common share held. This is a change from the exchange ratio of 0.40 of a US Gold common share for each 1.0 Minera Andes share originally proposed by Mr. McEwen. The board of directors of each company has agreed in principle to the new exchange ratio, subject to satisfactory completion of remaining due diligence and negotiation of satisfactory binding transaction agreements.
Each of US Gold and Minera Andes agrees in principle that any agreement between them to effect the proposed merger will include their respective agreements to pay a break fee equal to 3 per cent of the paying party's market capitalization, based on its closing share price on Sept. 1, 2011, to be payable in customary circumstances and subject to the negotiation of satisfactory binding transaction agreements. The market capitalization of US Gold is $814-million and the market capitalization of Minera Andes is $650-million, based on their respective closing prices on Sept. 1, 2011.
Belo Sun Mining was up 7 per cent and closing in on a year high $1.54 with nearly 2 million shares traded on the TSXV early Friday. On Aug. 31 it announced assay results for 22 additional drill holes from the diamond drilling program at its Volta Grande Gold Project located in Para State, Brazil, including the discovery of a new high grade extension at the Grota Seca Deposit. It said the results include assays from 14 drill holes from the Grota Seca deposit, seven drill holes from the Ouro Verde deposit and one from the South Block target. Belo Sun Mining Corp, formerly Verena Minerals Corporation, is a development-stage mineral exploration company with a portfolio of properties, including Volta Grande gold property.