On September 28, Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. and Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. announced a ‘Merger of Equals’ that will combine the two successful companies to create the highest-quality senior producer in the global gold industry.
The new mega-company will continue under the name Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., becoming the gold industry’s highest-quality senior producer, with the lowest unit costs, highest margins, most favourable risk profile and industry-leading best practices in key areas of environmental, social, and governance (ESG).
According to a company press release, upon the closing of the merger, the company is expected to have $2.3 billion of available liquidity, a mineral reserve base of 48 million ounces of gold (which has doubled over the last 10 years), and an extensive pipeline of development and exploration projects to drive sustainable, low-risk growth.
The company states that the merger will create a best-in-class gold mining company working in one of the world’s leading gold regions – the Abitibi-Greenstone Belt of northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec. The consolidation will also provide the new Agnico Eagle with significant value creation opportunities through synergies and other business improvement initiatives within Abitibi.
As well, Agnico Eagle will be set as the only gold producer in Nunavut and well-positioned internationally with assets in Australia, Finland, and Mexico.
The merger amplifies both companies’ strengths by bringing together two industry leaders in growing per share value in key metrics such as production, mineral reserves, cash flow, and net asset value. Both companies also share a strong commitment to returning capital to shareholders, with a total of $1.6 billion being returned through dividend payments and share repurchases since the beginning of 2020 (on a pro forma basis).
The new Agnico Eagle will be led by a combined board and management team of experienced mining and business leaders. The transaction is expected to close in December 2021 or in the first quarter of 2022.
After the merger the company stated that Kirkland Lake Gold shareholders will receive 0.7935 of an Agnico Eagle common share for each Kirkland Lake Gold common share held. This would mean that upon closing, existing Agnico Eagle and Kirkland Lake Gold shareholders will own approximately 54% and 46% of the combined company, respectively.
“This merger starts a new chapter in Agnico Eagle’s 64-year history and creates the leading low-risk global gold company with growing production, low costs, and strong ESG leadership,” said Sean Boyd, Agnico Eagle’s Chief Executive Officer. “The transaction creates a company with a strong platform of people, assets, and financial resources to continue to build and operate a long-term sustainable and self-funding business. Kirkland Lake is an excellent cultural fit with Agnico Eagle, and we look forward to working together to further grow our business through exploration, mine development, and optimization of our high-quality asset base.”
In early 2021, Agnico Eagle acquired TMAC Resources Inc., which previously ran the Doris gold mine in Nunavut, for $289 million. According to The Globe and Mail, in late July, Sean Boyd said there is room for more consolidation in the “fragmented” global gold sector, but operators have to be careful not to repeat the “sins of the past.”
“We are very pleased and excited to be entering into a combination with Agnico Eagle,” Tony Makuch, President and CEO of Kirkland Lake Gold, said about the merger. “It is a unique ‘strength-on-strength’ transaction that combines the two global gold producers with the best track records for increasing per share value. The transaction represents a true merger of equals, with the business of both companies to benefit from the significant financial strength of the merged company, the extensive pipeline of development and exploration projects to drive future growth, and the potential to realize significant operational and strategic synergies along the Abitibi-Kirkland Lake corridor. It is the right deal for our company and its shareholders, our people, the communities where we operate, and all of our key stakeholder groups.”
Pending the final close of the merger, Agnico Eagle CEO Sean Boyd will become executive chair of the board, while Kirkland Lake Gold CEO Tony Makuch will be chief executive of the combined company. The other key members of the management team and directors include Tony Makuch, who will be taking on the role of president at Agnico Eagle; Jeffrey Parr, new vice-chair of the board; and Jamie Sokalsky, lead director. The Board of Directors of the
new Agnico Eagle will consist of 13 directors, comprised of seven directors of Agnico Eagle and six directors from Kirkland Lake Gold.
Agnico Eagle is a senior Canadian gold mining company that has produced precious metals since 1957. Its operating mines are located in Canada, Finland, and Mexico, with exploration and development activities in each of these countries as well as in the US and Colombia. Agnico Eagle and its shareholders have full exposure to gold prices due to its long-standing policy of no forward gold sales.
Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. is a senior gold producer operating in Canada and Australia that is targeting 1,300,000–1,400,000 ounces of production in 2021. The production profile of Kirkland Lake Gold is anchored by three high-quality operations, including the Macassa Mine and Detour Lake Mine, both located in northern Ontario, and the Fosterville Mine located in the state of Victoria, Australia.
Agnico Eagle and Kirkland Lake Gold Announce Filing of Joint Management Information Circular in Connection With Proposed Merger. (2021, November 1). Agnicoeagle.com. Retrieved from www.agnicoeagle.com/English/investor-relations/news-and-events/news-releases/news-release-details/2021/Agnico-Eagle-and-Kirkland-Lake-Gold-Announce-Filing-of-Joint-Management-Information-Circular-in-Connection-With-Proposed-Merger/default.aspx.
McGee, N. (2021, July 29). Agnico Eagle CEO Sean Boyd Says More Room for Consolidation in Gold Sector. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-agnico-eagle-ceo-sean-boyd-says-more-room-for-consolidation-gold.