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Prospects look up as winter speculation turns to spring

SABRE Resources and Prairie Downs Metals have both managed to give punters what they like in the last few days nosebleeds from steeply climbing share prices.

SABRE Resources and Prairie Downs Metals have both managed to give punters what they like in the last few days nosebleeds from steeply climbing share prices.

Sabre accelerated 23? to 33? on early drilling results from one of the Namibian copper prospects, recently acquired from Perth entrepreneur Jim del Piano, although there are no assays yet. By contrast, Prairie Downs' shares started lifting slightly before last Thursday's announcement that the company has put its foot on four concessions in Poland that are highly prospective for steaming coal, and have run from 11? to 26?.

Insider wonders whether the runs in those stocks, and a couple of lesser kicks by others with drill results in the past week such as Aphrodite Gold are signs that the winter of speculative investing is turning to spring.

Of course, the past month or two has seen any stock with graphite exposure run, but that may just be a "flavour of the month" effect and, no, that is not aimed at Sovereign Metals, which coincidentally yesterday revealed it had nailed a graphite prospect in Malawi and enjoyed a 13? gain to 38?.

At Sabre, where del Piano has been a long-term supporter and dominant shareholder, the copper discovery it is claiming at Guchab looks like a case of second time lucky for lease areas he has sold into the company in exchange for stock.

Back in 2007, when men were believed heteronormative and share prices always rose, del Piano passed on for $13 million in stock and a small amount of cash a 70 per cent stake in a Namibian lead-zinc prospect that independent geologists had valued at $90 million.

The now-fancied Guchab prospect was only approved as an acquisition in June, when the del Piano interests were given 46 million shares priced at 13.45? each which are now carrying a paper profit of $9 million, although not able to be traded until next year.

In Insider's humble opinion, directors at Golden Deeps (which just happens to share an office with Sabre), need to get on their public relations bike and point out to the market that they also acquired an adjoining lease in May from del Piano, which must now be somewhat more prospective.

Golden Deeps stock could muster only a 0.5? rise to 8? yesterday, which is above the notional 6.5? issue price of 50 million shares awarded to del Piano, but far short of the independent experts' value of the company at 25? a share post-transaction. Sabre and Golden Deeps have their mining feet on a goodly block of adjacent areas in Namibia now and, even though the region has had mines for well over a century, it is a popular venue using modern techniques.

As for Prairie Downs, part of former Normandy Mining executive Ian Middlemas' extensive stable of exploration companies perched in Perth's BGC building, from what Insider can work out it incorporated a Polish offshoot earlier this year to bid for the coal licences.

Company records there indicate the Prairie Downs representative in Poland is Janusz Jakimowicz, which Insider presumes might well be the same Jakimowicz who cut his teeth in Poland's coal industry before working for Joe Gutnick's North Australian Diamonds.

Oddly enough, aforementioned Sovereign Metals is another of Middlemas' many corporate babies, which have key projects in the Philippines, Yemen, Spain and the Congo.

That's entertainment

RISING like a Dark Knight, shares in cinema and entertainment groups Amalgamated Holdings and Village Roadshow are both near personal bests this month.

This column gave both wealth-creating companies an opportunity to sing their own praises (proving the Australian Financial Review wrong that Insider writes for anti-BusinessDay), but only Village's Graham Burke was keen to do so.

Just to put it in perspective, Village shares have run from around $3 to $3.35 in August, which might be short of last year's peak at $3.44, but does show some investor appetite. Amalgamated's stock has climbed steadily this calendar year from around $5.50 to threaten $7.

"People have worked out the value of our four businesses [cinemas, theme parks, distribution and production], and are putting it together," a chuffed Burke told Insider. "We are in the business of selling 'escape entertainment' and people want what we sell."

Village did a presentation last month on "escape entertainment," pointing out that while people might be shying away from retailers, they are keen to buy something that makes them forget about life for a while [thanks, Billy Joel].

Insider can only assume that similar reasons are driving the Rydge family's Amalgamated Holdings, operator of the Greater Union and Birch, Carroll & Coyle chains as well as Rydges Hotels.

Unfortunately managing director David Seargeant claimed that because the company was due to report results next week, he was muzzled. Funny, Village's Burke also reports next week.

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