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Share sales rebound 98% in Toronto as copper, gold prices surge

17th May 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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After a miserable year for share sales, Canada’s largest exchange is seeing a rebound thanks to mining firms raising capital as copper and gold prices have spiked.

The volume of total financings on the Toronto Stock Exchange jumped 98% in the first four months of the year to C$4.9-billion from C$2.5-billion, according to data from exchange operator TMX Group, representing a sharp increase after an historically bleak year for equity market financing activity on Canada’s largest exchange.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. led the way with a C$1.55-billion share sale in February, followed by a C$431-million deal earlier that month consisting of new Capstone Copper shares and existing stock from a group of shareholders, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Deals accelerated in April, with 58 deals raising a total of C$1.6-billion, up from 21 deals for just C$556-million in the same month a year earlier.

“While 2024 had a quieter start, Canadian equity issuance has improved this spring, with momentum continuing thus far in May,” said Michelle Khalili, Scotiabank managing director and global head, equity capital markets. She sees growing confidence and the timing of interest rate cuts as driving a further acceleration in the pace of share issuance for the balance of the year.

The bump higher in stock sales has largely been driven by mining companies. Miners have dominated financings on the Toronto Stock Exchange and junior Venture exchange so far this year, raising C$4.4-billion in the first four months of the year, or 71% of the total C$6.2-billion in funds raised in the period.

The rush of financing comes as the prices of copper and gold have both hit records this year and continue to trade at elevated levels. The materials sector occupies a 12% weighting on the S&P/TSX Composite Index and has been the top-performing of 11 industry groups in the index this year, rising 19% compared with 6.4% for the Canadian stocks gauge.

In a typical year, mining issuance would account for about 25% of the total financing in Canada, making the group’s dominance of the year-to-date figures for the sector “a very high percentage,” TMX Group vice-president, global business development and capital formation Robert Peterman said by phone.

Indeed, the largest deals to start the year have primarily been in the materials space, led by the First Quantum and Capstone Copper deals. Real estate firm Colliers International Group also raised roughly C$405-million in February.

The signs of a rebound are in place, but TMX remains cautious. “We see signals that things are improving but it’s hard to project that we’ll see a higher financing number in May than we saw in April,” Peterman said, adding that “the real momentum” in the Canadian ECM space will come with clearer signals that interest rates will drop.

The uptick in issues are “good signs,” said Daniel Nowlan, National Bank Financial vice chairman and managing director, equity capital markets. The bank’s ECM desk is seeing more consistent traffic and bigger transactions, and the overall amount being raised is about twice as much as in 2023. However, he notes that weekly deal volumes totaling C$200 million is still below typical levels of C$1-billion a week.

“It’s still a ways from a normal year,” Nowlan said. “We’re not quite there yet.”

Edited by Bloomberg

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