UPDATE 1-Goldcorp to sell 48 pct stake in Silver Wheaton

Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:49pm EST

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TORONTO Jan 31 (Reuters) - Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) said on Thursday it is selling its 108 million common shares of Silver Wheaton Corp (SLW.TO) -- a 48 percent stake -- to underwriters in a bought deal, at a price of C$14.50 per share.

Gross proceeds to Goldcorp will be C$1.57 billion ($1.57 billion), the gold miner said.

Shares of Silver Wheaton were last at C$15.47 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, down 4.3 percent.

Reports surfaced earlier this week that Goldcorp was considering a sale of its Silver Wheaton stock, pushing down Silver Wheaton's share price.

The two companies, both based in Vancouver, British Columbia, said the secondary offering is scheduled to close on Feb. 14.

Silver Wheaton buys silver under contracts with various mine owners and resells the metal at market prices. Its stock price surged in 2007, and analysts said earlier this week that it would make sense for Goldcorp to lock in its gains and generate cash for its own capital spending plans.

In a statement, Goldcorp said the sale of Silver Wheaton shares was part of a plan to simplify its corporate structure and strengthen its balance sheet.

The proceeds will give it financial flexibility as it builds new mines, Goldcorp said, noting that it expects to boost gold production by 50 percent over the next five years.

($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Lynne Olver; Editing by Rob Wilson)

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