Taseko Mines down 30% as Credit Suisse cuts rating after Canadian Govt announcement on Prosperity

Credit Suisse downgraded Taseko Mines Limited (TKO.TO) to Underperform from Neutral and lowered its target price to $5.50 from $8.25.

"The Canadian federal government announced that the Prosperity project "cannot be granted federal authorizationsto proceed due to concerns about the significant adverse environmental effects of the project." Prosperity represented 57% of our NAV for Taseko, and thus a rejection from the federal government represents a significant blow to Taseko's growth prospects and its market value," Credit Suisse said.

"Canadian Environment minister Jim Prentice stated that "the significant adverse environmental effects of the Prosperity project cannot be justified as it is currently proposed". We highlight "as it is currently proposed", since this leaves some opportunity for Taseko to redesign the project, although we expect such a redesign could take years to complete, new engineering plans may need to be created, and new permits and approvals could be required. In addition, a redesign may not remove the objections to the project raised, and recently strongly voiced, by some Aboriginal groups opposed to the project."

Valuation: "We view the prospects of Prosperity getting built to now be slim, and therefore include only 20% of Prosperity's value in our NAV, and have assumed a 2017 start date to allow for redesign/re-permitting. This has lowered our NAV to $5.97 per share (previously C$9.80), and our target price to C$5.50 (previously $8.25). Completely removing Prosperity would lower our NAVPS to $4.88, and our target price to $4.75. Based on our target price being below the current share price, we are lowering our rating to Underperform from Neutral.

Our 2012 EPS estimate is raised to $0.62 from $0.61."

"Catalysts? We expect Taseko will appeal the government's decision, and the Provincial government may also get involved, as it had previously approved the project. Taseko believes that a resolution with the federal government is attainable, although it will take time.

"M&A the next focus? We believe TKO may now look to use its strong balance sheet (est. $190M in cash and no debt) to reacquire growth through M&A."

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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