CHINA MAGNESIUM'S 'BARGAIN BUY' IN CHINA

CHINA MAGNESIUM'S 'BARGAIN BUY' IN CHINA

BOUNDING in to the Gold Coast’s Top 10 ASX list for the first time, China Magnesium Corporation is one of the few Australian mining companies producing in China.

The company has signalled its intentions in Asia with a $6 million acquisition this month of a ferrosilicon plant in the north eastern Chinese province of Ningxai, about 650kms from its magnesium ingot production operation in the Shanxi province.

Headquartered at Marine Parade Southport, the company’s net profit for the half to December 11 was up 96 per cent to $1.1 million, while revenues increased by 252 per cent to $1.18 million on the same period in FY10.

“I love a bargain,” says managing director Tom Blackhurst (pictured), of the latest acquisition.

“You need to be very patient in China, you can’t make a deal straight away. There is no such thing as making an acquaintance after having met a bloke twice.”

The patience is paying off. CMC raised $4.5 million at 30c per share to fund the buy and a further $5 million is in the bank for future acquisitions after releasing 14 million shares at 35c – a 30 per cent premium to the price prior to the announcement.

The company has a 90.7 per cent interest in CMC China, which owns a magnesium ingot production operation in Shanxi province. The company has key permits in place to expand production to 105,000 tonnes per annum and intends to do so in three phases by December 2013. If successful it will become one of the world’s largest magnesium producers.

Blackhurst says CMC has no debt, but with a slowdown in the China economy, his operations will also ease.

“The Australian Government is happy to spend billions in Australia to build port facilities just to sell stuff to China, but we’re on the ground in China and our business grows as the economy grows. Our boat rises on their tide,” he says.

Magnesium is the lightest of all the structural metals and its main advantage is its weight-to-strength ratio, considerably higher than that of competing structural metals. It is the eighth most abundant element in the earth’s crust.

Its largest market is for use in the production of die-cast parts for the automobile industry. It’s also used to make beverage cans.

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