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B2Gold Corp. has positioned itself to be a leading mid-tier gold producer after striking its fifth major acquisition in less than seven years. Now it just has to keep delivering for investors.
The Vancouver-based miner announced a US$570-million all-stock takeover of Papillon Resources Ltd. on Tuesday, a deal that gives it the promising Fekola gold project in Mali. It is another big milestone for B2 chief executive Clive Johnson, who is establishing himself as the single most prolific dealmaker in the sector.
“We are the fastest-growing profitable gold producer in the world,” Mr. Johnson said on a conference call. The recent history of M&A in the gold mining space has been mostly awful, with companies overpaying for assets and then recording massive writedowns on them.
Mr. Johnson acknowledged that some investors may be concerned about B2’s acquisition spree given this history of bad transactions in the sector. But he said that B2’s strong track record should give people comfort that his team chooses good targets and integrates them well.
“We’ve looked at literally hundreds of projects over the last six years or so at B2,” Mr. Johnson said. It’s alarming how few projects actually meet our requirements. This one [Fekola] definitely does.”
Before starting B2Gold in 2007, Mr. Johnson and his team ran Bema Gold Corp. That company was sold to Kinross Gold Corp. for $3.5-billion in 2006, in what was easily the best transaction Kinross has done in the last decade.
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