TORONTO, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Canadian junior gold explorer B2Gold (BTO.TO) plans to pursue more acquisitions following its takeover of Central Sun Mining (CSM.TO), with the goal of joining the ranks of mid-tier producers.
“We believe strongly that there’s an opportunity today to be a consolidator in the junior gold sector,” B2Gold chief executive Clive Johnson said on a conference call on Tuesday.
Central Sun agreed on Monday to B2Gold’s all stock bid. The offer of 1.28 of B2Gold shares for each Central Sun share values Central Sun at 96 Canadian cents a share, and the company at just under C$60 million, at Tuesday’s prices.
Shares of both gold miners have fallen hard over the past year, stung by a general sell-off of resource plays in 2008, and also by tight credit markets that have dried up funding options for junior operators.
Many larger miners have said the low stock valuations represent a great opportunity for cheap takeovers.
B2Gold was up 1 Canadian cent at 75 Canadian cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange, while Central Sun was down 4 Canadian cents at 78 Canadian cents.
The deal would create a combined company with initial production of about 45,000 ounces of gold a year. It trumps an earlier offer for Central Sun by Linear Gold LRR.TO. Linear has said it will not match B2Gold’s bid.
Vancouver-based B2Gold has assets in Columbia and Russia, while Toronto-based Central Sun operates in Nicaragua.
$1=$1.23 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson