>Canadian Miners Don’t Love the London Stock Exchange
– Deal Journal – WSJ:
“By Phred Dvorak and Edward Welsch
When the London Stock Exchange Group Ltd. announced its proposed takeover of Toronto’s bourse, one of the supposed benefits was access–for Toronto-listed firms–to London’s deep pools of capital.
That’s a topic dear to the hearts of roughly 1,500 cash-hungry start-up miners that populate the Toronto bourse and its venture affiliate. Those “junior miners”–and their constant need for money to drill, test and explore — have made the Toronto Stock Exchange, operated by TMX Group Inc., the mining-finance market of choice.
So what do those juniors think about the proposed deal? Not much, according to some of the attendees Deal Journal interviewed at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto, the world’s largest gathering of small-cap miners.
Kerry Knoll, chairman of Canada Lithium Corp., with some $140 million in market cap, looked into listing on the LSE’s AIM market for smaller firms a few years ago and found it a much more expensive proposition than going public on the Toronto bourse. If London controlled the Toronto exchanges as well, the combined entity could raise the cost of listing in Canada, Knoll worries: “I would fear they’d bring that (higher-cost model) here and really put a crimp in our incubator.”
LSE and TMX executives selling the deal in recent weeks have said the Toronto exchange would remain Canadian-operated and regulated, and would benefit capital-seeking firms by offering truly global scale.
But David McPherson, president of Pure Nickel Inc., at some $14 million market cap, said he’d worry the interests of small, Canadian firms like his may get lost in a bigger exchange.
Pure Nickel raised money on the Toronto Venture Exchange, TSE’s junior market, in 2007 to buy land. It moved up to Toronto’s big board later that year. It’s already raised money from London institutional investors, but it doesn’t expect any additional U.K. retail-investment opportunities from a TSX-LSE combination.
“All I see is the risk that we could become insignificant in a much larger exchange,” he said.
But there are some fans, including Graham Downs, the CEO of ATAC Resources Ltd., market cap north of $600 million, thanks in part to a new discovery of gold in the Yukon.
“There’s a big resource component of the London Stock Exchange, but they are so focused on Africa and all these other places that they know,” Downs says. “They don’t have a lot of access to us, so I think it’ll open more pockets [of money] to Canadian ventures.”
Even though money may initially flow more toward London than Canada while the market finds its equilibrium, Downs says, in the end there will be a bigger pool of capital available to the best companies.
“If you’ve got good projects, if you’ve got a quality team, the money will find you,” he says.