TORONTO, May 15, 2013 /CNW/ - MBAC Fertilizer Corp. ("MBAC" or the "Company") (TSX:MBC and OTCQX:MBCFF) announces highlights of its Q1 2013 results and provides a general corporate update including an update on the Itafós Arraias Single Super Phosphate ("SSP") Project ("Itafós" or the "Itafós Project").
The Company is today filing its Financial Statements and Management Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 on www.sedar.com.
Highlights for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 include:
- Achieved approximately 94% completion for the Itafós Project;
- Invested $70 million in property, plant and equipment and exploration activities;
- Completed the Updated Itafós Technical Report which provides:
- 47% increase in proven and probable reserves, an increase in mine life to approximately 19 years, current project economics and other updates;
- Total estimated capital costs of the Project of approximately $323 million;
- Received operating licenses for the water dam, the tailings dam, pipelines and the beneficiation plant for the Itafós Project;
- Completed a bought deal equity public offering in February 2013 for net proceeds of approximately $32.5 million;
- Sold interest in a non-material area of exploration ground 35 kilometres from the Santana Phosphate Project for a price of $10 million; and
- Received a working capital loan from Banco Itaú BBA for $10 million.
Highlights subsequent to quarter end:
- Raised net proceeds of approximately $48.1 million in a private placement of common shares in April 2013; and
- Received proceeds in advance for the sale of 15,000 tonnes of the 35,000 tonnes of SSP ordered during the quarter, all of which are expected to be delivered in July and August 2013.
ITAFÓS PROJECT UPDATE
Physical progress of the construction at the Itafόs Project to date is approximately 94% completed. Highlights of recent progress include:
- Mine construction and preparation have been completed and the mine is operational;
- Beneficiation plant has been commissioned and is operational;
- Powerline has been completed and is operational;
- Water dam and tailings dam have been completed and are operational;
- Water pipeline has been completed and is operational;
- Construction continues to advance on the chemical plants;
- All key personnel needed to operate the plants are in place.
The Company continues to expect that the Itafós Project will be fully licensed and in operation by mid-year 2013.
SSP Market Update and Sales
Despite the lag in fertilizer product deliveries in the Company's target region during the first quarter as compared to last year (due to unusually dry conditions experienced in the first quarter of 2013), there has been an increase in fertilizer purchases in the target region in the last month. Brazilian soybean production is forecast to hit record levels in 2013 leading the Company to believe that the market for fertilizer will continue to strengthen as the planting season begins, which typically occurs in October/November. The Company continues to expect lower SSP prices in 2013 relative to 2012, but expects prices to rise into 2014.
The Company remains focused on its sales efforts. The Company has binding agreements to deliver SSP to customers starting in July 2013, and the Company has received pre-payment for 15,000 tonnes of this SSP from one of its customers. The Company is currently in discussions with prospective purchasers for additional volume.
The Company's Executive Committee remains actively involved in providing oversight of the advancement of the Itafós Project and is pleased with the progress made since the beginning of April 2013. This year is a year of transition for the Company during which it will launch operations and start to generate cash flow. 2014 will be the first full year of production, when the operations are expected to reach capacity. As the Company transitions to full capacity, there will be a strong focus on operations management to keep the cost structure as low as possible and to actively manage working capital to reduce the Company's cash needs.
The Executive Committee has also undertaken a number of significant strategic initiatives to strengthen the financial flexibility of the Company by increasing the cash available to fund its operations. These initiatives included retaining financial advisors to review: the sale of part or all of the Araxá Project; debt financing alternatives for the Company; and the sale of a minority interest in the Santana Project.
The Company will host its Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders on Thursday May 23, 2013 at 10:00 am in the Manitoba Room at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario.
MBAC is focused on becoming a significant integrated producer of phosphate and potash fertilizers and related products in the Brazilian and Latin American markets. MBAC has an experienced team with significant experience in the business of fertilizer operations, management, marketing and finance within Brazil. In October 2008, MBAC acquired Itafós Mineração Ltda., which consisted of a phosphate mine, a mill and plant and related infrastructure, all located in central Brazil. MBAC's exploration portfolio includes a number of additional exciting phosphate and potash projects, which are also located in Brazil. The Santana Phosphate project is a high grade phosphate deposit located in close proximity to the largest fertilizer market of Mato Grosso State and animal feed market of Pará State. The Company continues to search for additional fertilizer opportunities in the Brazilian and other Latin-American markets, where strong agricultural fundamentals and unique opportunities are expected to provide attractive growth opportunities in the near future. Further information on MBAC can be found on the Company's website at www.mbacfert.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements related to activities, events or developments that the Company expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future, including, without limitation, statements related to the Company's business strategy, objectives and goals; the completion of Itafós Project within a timely and costly manner; the expectation that first deliveries of SSP being delivered in July and August 2013, the expectation that Company be fully licensed and in operation by mid-year 2013, the expected strength of the fertilizer market; the expectation of reaching full capacity at Itafós in 2014; and the expectation the Company will be able to strengthen its financial flexibility. Forward-looking statements are often identified by the use of words such as "plans", "planning", "planned", "expects" or "looking forward", "does not expect", "continues", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "potential", "anticipates", "does not anticipate", or "belief", or describes a "goal", or variation of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements are based on a number of factors and assumptions made by management and considered reasonable at the time such statements are made, and forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause the actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risk factors include, among others, the Company not being fully licensed by mid-2013 or achieving full capacity at Itafós in 2014, the Company's expectations related to the fertilizer market and SSP prices being incorrect, the Company not being successful at keeping the cost structure as low as possible and to manage working capital to reduce its cash needs or in relation to the outcome strategic of alternatives to the increase in financial flexibility and cash available to fund its operations, as well as those factors disclosed in the Company's current Annual Information Form and Management's Discussion and Analysis, as well as other public disclosure documents, available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although MBAC has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate. The forward-looking statements contained herein are presented for the purposes of assisting investors in understanding the Company's plan, objectives and goals and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
SOURCE MBAC Fertilizer Corp.