In a Tuesday (August 28) press release, the company said the conditional financing commitment will help restart Bloom Lake, which it acquired in 2016 from Cliffs Natural Resources, now Cleveland-Cliffs (NYSE:CLF). Quebec Iron Ore, a subsidiary of Champion owned partially by Ressources Québec, is in charge the restart.
The financing is in return for the non-brokered sale of a subordinated unsecured mandatory convertible on a private placement basis. The debenture will have a term to maturity of eight years and an interest rate of 12 percent in the first year. The commitment also contemplates an offtake agreement between Glencore and Quebec Iron with fixed terms for 10 years.
Michael O’Keeffe, chairman and CEO of both Champion and Quebec Iron, commented “[t]his financing commitment marks another significant milestone for Bloom Lake and will ensure effective long-term access to markets where Bloom Lake’s high quality iron ore is in strong demand.”
Champion has also received conditional commitments for $180 million in debt financing for Bloom Lake from Sprott Private Resource Lending and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. The former has agreed to provide $80 million, while the latter will contribute $100 million. After announcing the Glencore news, Champion said it would reduce the expected size of a planned public offering of subscription receipts from about $50 million to $20 million.
Iron ore was trading above $70 per tonne on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday (August 30), but Chinese iron ore futures dropped over 1 percent that day on falling steel prices.
While some market watchers believe strong Chinese steel demand will cap any losses in iron ore prices, others are less optimistic. In a recent research note, Barclays (LSE:BARC) said iron ore prices could slip to the mid-$50s on stalling steel prices and building product inventories.
According to the firm, the end of the iron ore price rally will be signaled by the start of a new steel product inventory restocking cycle. It states that rebar stocks stood at 438,000 MT as of August 25 compared to a high of 874,000 MT in mid-February. Iron ore port stocks have fallen from 145 million MT in June to 135 million MT as of August 25.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Shaw, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.