Soar Financial Canada Corp. CEO Kai Hoffmann Talks Resource Sector Financings and a Few Gold and Battery Metal Stock Picks
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Soar Financial Canada Corp., Mr. Kai Hoffmann. Kai, how's it going?
Kai Hoffmann: It's going great, Gerardo. Thank you so much for having me on the show again.
Gerardo Del Real: You know, we haven't touched base publicly since September. I know we bumped into each other at multiple events, but I wanted to catch back up. The last time we spoke, we talked about the junior financing environment and how things were progressing at the time. It's been a little bit. Before we get into what you're seeing out there, I'd love for you to just once again refresh and remind everybody as to what you do and your background there.
Kai Hoffmann: Yeah, thanks. Appreciate it. Soar Financial Canada Corp. is the long name behind Oreninc and Oreninc.com, and also the Oreninc Mining Deal Club, a new venture we started late last year. At Oreninc, we track all financings in the junior commodity space, so companies that are listed on the TSX, TSXV and CSE we do track. We do track by press releases, so that's roughly 1,400 companies we're having to look at every single day. We have a data analyst sitting out in Portland, Oregon, doing that manually, because the press releases are so cryptic that it takes a couple hours sometimes to figure out what they're actually doing in them. So there's a lot of manual work involved. We provide that information free of charge to our subscribers at Oreninc.com.
Gerardo Del Real: Wonderful. Now, we spoke in September, as I mentioned earlier. What trends have you seen develop that maybe are different than what was going on in the space back in September?
Kai Hoffmann: Well, pointing out the obvious, it's been pretty dull, actually, in the markets in terms of financings. There have been the odd outliers. We've seen a couple bigger ones. Newcrest out of Australia has been really active allocating strategic dollars. Other than that, it's like we haven't seen that many bigger financings besides the Osisko and the Orion Group being active in the markets. We've only seen a bunch of $10-plus million financings this year so far, especially the last few weeks it's been really, really quiet and only a couple plus-$10 million financings have been opened since PDAC as well.
Our index score, which actually had been benchmarked in January 2011, so at the height of the market, is still a long ways, stayed a long ways away from those levels. Actually, looking last week, we looked at a score of 26, which was probably one of the lower scores I've seen since I took over Oreninc back in September '16. And looking back, I think only January '16 and December '15 have been lower. And the number of deals opened is the big lagging number, factor here that sort of influences our negative scores and subduedness in the market, I call it.
Gerardo Del Real: Are there sectors that are attracting more capital than others?
Kai Hoffmann: I would have answered that differently two weeks ago, because what I've noticed is that the battery metals who have been really active over the last six to eight months but have sort of dropped off in March. That is just a very preliminary research I've done going through our numbers here. But only Millennial Lithium – that was actually the second biggest financing in March, $24 million if I'm not mistaken – has attracted significant capital in this space.
We've only seen very few smaller financings in the cobalt, lithium, but also vanadium space. So that market has quieted down a little bit. Whether that had to do anything with what's happening in Chile, Albemarle getting an increase in their permitting to produce more lithium. That's probably one of the reasons that the market has quiet down. BMW saying that lithium, they're not going to invest into any lithium, cobalt, or any battery metals project at that time until the market has sort of settled and they've figured out where they're going to go.
Gold has taken over. I've seen a lot of gold financings recently again. Definitely dominant, gold has always been at the forefront. Only pot, crypto, and the battery metals have taken over that limelight in recent months, but gold is omnipresent still.
Gerardo Del Real: Interesting. You know, something that I've noticed, and before I get into that, you also write a subscription newsletter, so I want to ask you about that, but something I've noticed is a lot of the better teams in the gold space are coming back out of the woods and putting groups together and assets together that I have to believe signal the bottom in the gold space. What are your thoughts there, Kai?
Kai Hoffmann: Yeah, we've seen a lot of that happening in 2016. A lot of companies have raised money in that regard. A lot of groups have come back, but not all of them just yet, and what we're seeing now is a preparation for, let's call it phase two of the bull market here, because in 2016, we've seen a lot of financings, a lot of money was on the sideline before that anyway, and people have invested that money. I've been told by investors that they've been doing 20 placements a week just dropping dollars left and right, actually. Also, getting those warrants, and that's one thing I think we should talk about as well at one point is have the companies been more lenient when it comes to giving out warrants and other bonuses to their shareholders.
Gerardo Del Real: You know, a couple of years ago, I remember Rick Rule mentioning that the issuers were very stingy on terms, and I think that's changing somewhat. I can tell you, personally, I've written in my newsletter that I've been as aggressive this year as I have been in five or six years in terms of gold and base metal participation and the financings on my end of it. I would love to follow back up with you if you could crunch the data for us and talk about what those terms look like and if that actually is a trend that is developing with the issuers. Tell me about your newsletter, Kai.
Kai Hoffmann: Yeah. It's called the Investor Magazin. It's a German newsletter per se because I'm based here out of Germany. We figured when we launched the newsletter seven years ago, six and a half years ago, that we'd have less competition obviously writing in German, me being German being helpful there. We publish every week. We do track the overall market. We sort of have, same as Oreninc, actually, a cut off of roughly $1.5 billion in market cap for any new position we open. The biggest positions actually we have grown with them like Kirkland Lake Gold, Endeavour Mining. Those are probably the biggest positions. B2 Gold we've only added at the end of last year as sort of an exception, but other than that we look at junior producers, junior developers, junior explorers. That's our focus area.
Gerardo Del Real: Wonderful. What do you like in the space? Maybe two or three names that you believe present pretty compelling risk/reward propositions at these levels.
Kai Hoffmann: There are a couple actually. There are some good opportunities out there. I've been touring the globe quite a bit this year already, and I'm just up for another site visit trip here, looking at a couple companies. But one thing that sort of stuck out and there's only one name I'm really following right now in the cobalt space, that's Cobalt 27. We've been up 44% right now. That's more of a risk averse approach to the space because I think they are well positioned to benefit. I hear there's a streaming deal in the works, so that can be quite interesting. I know Anthony, he's quite active, the CEO, getting things done. They've just recently raised over $200 million I've been told, or I heard, that the overall book actually stood at $350 million. So interest is definitely there, and what I like about that story is that Cobalt 27's been able to attract generalist funds, not mining funds, but generalist funds into their financings.
Gerardo Del Real: That's important.
Kai Hoffmann: Really important. I think this will be beneficial for the overall market, for our market, because we've been crying out here, sort of saying, "Where did the dollars go? And where's the retail market?" Well, it's in companies like Cobalt 27 at this point.
Gerardo Del Real: Do you see that trickling down?
Kai Hoffmann: Eventually, eventually. Let those guys have success, people will start to trust the mining space again. This is starting to get annoying. I apologize for that.
Gerardo Del Real: No worries.
Kai Hoffmann I think it's the kids, actually, so that's ...
Gerardo Del Real: Well, we're going into the long weekend and it's par for the course.
Kai Hoffmann: Yeah, going into the long weekend. It's like 20 to 6PM here, right? I think that's going to trickle down if investors find more trust in the CEOs or in the management of those companies, right? And a couple other names I do follow very closely and I'm sort of very engaged with them as well is Integra Resources, obviously. I think that's almost like a no-brainer looking at the numbers. They're trading at a dollar if I'm not mistaken. A really interesting project up in Idaho, already sitting on 3.5 million ounces, but their target is to increase the resource by grade, not just by ounces but also increase the grade, add some depth. So they've launched, I think, a 20,000 meter drill program there. That's going to be interesting over the mid to long-term. We're not four-month traders. That's really important as well, so we don't have a four-month perspective on things. It's more mid to long-term when we look at stuff.
One other one I could probably mention here, and I just recommended it the other day because we've been to site. I think it's quite interesting, it seems to have bottomed out, is Allegiant Gold. They're trading at roughly 52 cents, or 54 cents actually this morning. It's in Nevada. It's a gold play in Nevada, and we've been to site it's just outside of Tonopah. It's an interesting gold play. There don't seem to be any more sellers in the market right now. We've been able to fish some out of the market at 52 cents just recently and are quite happy with that. It's a well-known team. It's Andy Wallace and the Cordex group. They've made multimillion ounce discoveries over the last 50, 60 years in Nevada, and I think their knowledge and expertise is unrivaled in Nevada at this point.
Gerardo Del Real: It's an impressive team for sure. Kai, the kids obviously know how to get ahold of you. How do people get ahold of you?
Kai Hoffmann: Yeah, well, multifold, actually. One is Oreninc.com, O-R-E-N-I-N-C.com, and the other one, obviously, if you can understand and read German, it's Investor-Magazin.de, without an E because it is German.
Gerardo Del Real: Fantastic. Kai, thank you so much for your time. Again, I know it's evening time, dinnertime out in Germany, so thanks again for coming on.
Kai Hoffmann: Thanks so much, and I do apologize for the doorbell here. I should have shut that thing off before. My apologies. Thanks for the opportunity, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: No worries. I'd love to have you back on, hopefully in the next week or two, and we can talk about financings and the terms and just whether you're seeing in the data the terms being more generous here over the past quarter, too.
Kai Hoffmann: I'd like that. That would be great.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Thanks again, Kai.
Kai Hoffmann: Take care, Gerardo. Thank you.
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