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A PEA-sized Company with a Huge Natural Gas Vision

What do you make of a $70 million company developing a $10 billion project?

Well that is exactly what we have in the case of tiny, Calgary based Pieridae – trading under symbol PEA-TSXv.

Its an uphill battle, but I have to admit the company is giving it their best shot.  After you’re done reading, you’ll realize it’s not as far-fetched as you think.

Goldboro LNG

Pieridae is working toward the development of the Goldboro liquified natural gas (LNG) project in Nova Scotia on the Atlantic Ocean.

The Goldboro terminals will be located 250 km NE of Halifax.  It will be made up of a 5 to 10 million tonnes per annum (mmtpa) liquification and loading facility, depending on the final design decision.

For comparison, Shell’s LNG Canada project is for 14 mmtpa.

But unlike LNG Canada, which has Shell, Petronas, PetroChina, Mitsubishi and KOGAS all with stakes in the project, Goldboro is 100% owned by tiny little Pieridae.

If that’s not enough chutzpah for you, Pieridae plans to run not just the terminal, but the upstream assets as well.

It would all seem perfectly implausible if the deal didn’t have one large backer with a significant interest in seeing the project being built:  The German government.

The LNG from Goldboro will be shipped across the Atlantic.  Almost the entire first train of the project (about 4.8 mmtpa of a total of 5 mmtpa) will be delivered to German utility giant Uniper.

Uniper is the largest utility in Germany.  They buy 40% of the natural gas consumed in Germany today.

Their contract with Pieridae, which has a 20 year take or pay term, will be for 10% of overall German gas demand – that’s HUGE!

Germany is desperately looking to diversify their gas supply.  Right now, 60% of their natural gas imports come from Russia, which isn’t a safe source of supply (ask Ukraine).

Natural gas is deemed a “scarce commodity” essential for the German economy, which means that imports qualify for the export credit assistance programs.

With Goldboro being a large natural gas importer, it qualifies for Germany’s “Untied Finance Credit” (UFC) program, where the German government guarantees loans for a very big part of the project cost.

The first train of the facility would qualify for a US$3 billion loan guarantee under the program.  That’s HUGE!

In addition, Pieridae will qualify for another US $1.5 billion of loan of guarantees for upstream development of natural gas assets.

All told US $4.5 billion of the US $6 billion expected costs will be guaranteed.

What was implausible becomes more plausible.

Of course, Pieridae still needs to go out and find a commercial lender willing to fork over the $4.5 billion of funding.  But that is a lot easier (and cheaper) when the loan is backed by the German government.

To be sure, there are hurdles that remain.  Before a lender will commit to such a tidy sum, they want to know the costs in detail.  This is where we are at now.

Pieridae has hired Kellogg, Root and Brown (KBR) to perform an engineering and design study that will include a lump sum estimate of project costs that can be used by prospective lenders.

That study – expected to be completed early in 2020 – is really The Next Big Milestone for Pieridae.

Own the Stream

In June Pieridae made a splash with the news that they had acquired Shell’s upstream Alberta assets.

It’s all part of Pieridae’s plan to secure the natural gas supply to feed their LNG terminal, once built.

While it may seem audacious that Pieridae would plan to own not only a multi-billion LNG terminal but the upstream natural gas assets as well – you have to understand this all comes back to cheap German capital.

Shell’s assets produce about 28,000 boepd.  They are primarily older producing wells, many of them 20-30 years old.

The midstream infrastructure was built for much higher production, which means they can be developed without much additional infrastructure.  But most importantly, the assets are conventional reserves and that can be accessed without fracking.

The one stipulation on the US $1.5 billion upstream German guarantee is that hydraulic fracking is prohibited. 

Both the Shell assets, and those of the previous acquisition of Ikkuma, fit that bill.

These two acquisitions make Pieridae a sizable, mid-tier (albeit high-cost) natural gas producer in Alberta.  Pro-forma production is 40,000-50,000 boe/d, 20% liquids.

Being a natural gas producer in Alberta is less than desirable unless you have a way to get the gas to market.  Here is where Pieridae has a unique advantage.

There aren’t many projects in Canada that can boast accessible pipeline capacity – but Pieridae can.

The majority of the trek east will be made on TransCanada’s mainline system.  This will be followed by shorter legs on regional TransCanada and Enbridge owned lines.

Capacity on each of these lines can be expanded to accommodate Pieridae’s additional volumes by simply adding compression.  Read my lips – no new pipelines!

Final Investment Decision

Pieridae has a few options for reaching a final investment decision (FID) on Goldboro.  But it seems most likely that they build a single train terminal and defer the second train to a later date.

The Shell and Ikkuma assets are sufficient for the first train of the LNG terminal.  The available pipeline capacity on Mainline and the connector pipelines are enough for the first train.  Same goes for the German loan guarantees.

A single train terminal is expected to cost $6 billion.  The combined two train terminal would add up to $10 billion.

A $6 billion price tag on the first train leaves a funding gap of $1.5 billion.  That is still a tidy sum to be found–and means more debt and equity.

Pieridae expects to issue between $1 billion to $1.3 billion of preferred equity in the project.  This will sit below the guaranteed term debt but above the common equity.  In an interview, CEO Alfred Sorensen said the company is “well along” the process of raising this capital.

The rest of the money – anywhere between $200 million and $500 million – will be new equity (dilution).  The equity isn’t likely to be issued until next year after the engineering and design study and the FID is made.

While those are still big numbers, they seem more attainable as Pieridae gets closer to securing the low-cost debt guarantee from the Germans.

Project Economics

Here is where the rubber hits the road.  Pieridae has forecast cash costs of $4.50 per mmbtu once the first train is up and running.

It’s still early in the game but let’s ballpark it to get an idea of the upside.  Assume Pieridae can get 5% debt on the German guaranteed $4.5 billion and 9% on the $1.3 billion preferred.  That would be annual interest costs of $350 million.

With LNG prices of $8/mmbtu (keep in mind Goldboro starts up in 2024 where there is expected to be a shortfall in LNG export capacity) and one train delivering 5 mmtpa per year you can pencil in close to $1 billion of cash flow for the equity in the project.

If we assume that equity is raised at the current share price ($1), there would about 300 million shares outstanding.

That means over $3 per share in cash flow to the common.

Its rough and all the numbers need to be validated but you can see how this could work out big.

All or Nothing

Consider that…

  • Unlike almost all projects in Canada, all major environmental, trade and construction permits are in place.
  • Unlike almost all projects in Canada, this one has available pipeline capacity.
  • Unlike any other project in Canada this one is close to obtaining the explicit loan guarantee from the G7 nation.

If this is David and Goliath, at the very least David has some pretty big rocks in his sling.

In November 2018 VP Mark Brown put the remaining hurdles as:

  1. finalisation of supply
  2. finalisation of transport
  3. finalisation of equity financing

Since that time the question of supply has been answered.  The pipeline capacity is there, but finalization of an agreement for it, like the equity financing, depends on the KBR assessment of costs.

Look, I would be crazy not to be skeptical that such a small company could make such a big project work.  But the guarantee of the German government, the pipeline capacity, the fact that Alberta REALLY needs a natural gas win – these put some wind in the sails.

At the very least, I’m willing to say this is not insurmountable.

What I would like to see is a partner coming on onboard.

Pieridae has made it clear they are open to it.  It would validate a lot of assumptions.  It would make the financing that much easier.  And it’s not going to hurt the economics much – if the project can get built within currently anticipated costs, there is plenty of cash flow to go around.

The acquisition from Shell tells me that these guys aren’t giving up.  While I’m not convinced they can pull it off, I wouldn’t rule it out.

I am certainly am rooting for them.  We all know the natural gas industry in Western Canada could use this kind of feel good story.

[[T_F]]Data Leak Prevention – Data Security Solutions – Information Theft Protection, Detection and Prevention Software Productstracefusion_signature=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[[T_F]]
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What is the #1 rule of real estate?

Location, location, location.

How about your smart phone? What is the most valuable real estate on your (and hundreds of millions of other’s) smart phone?

It’s the home-screen of course; the one you see as soon as your phone boots up.

Second question.  Who owns the prime real estate on your smart phone?

You, right?  Well, not really.  Actually, you are more like a co-owner – with your wireless carrier. How so?

Before you ever touch your phone, the carrier installs their software on the device.

This is software you can’t uninstall.  You can’t turn it off.

This software the pre-installs apps to your phone before you even get your hands.

It delivers ads, notifications and recommendations to you.

It can even create a library of content curated to what the carrier wants you to see.

Yet you don’t even realize it is there.

But it is – when you try out the apps that appear right there in front of you, or click on a notification that shows up in your stream, or consider the recommended content in a folder.

What you are really experiencing is the carrier monetizing their prime real estate.

I have found THE tiny company that builds that software.  It’s in my portfolio over at www.InvestingWhisperer.com.  It’s a smallcap stock trading under $10, and growing like crazy.

It’s up 29.8% since I bought it, but I think it’s going MUCH higher. I’m going to give you my report on it for FREE.

This company is the landlord that helps the carriers collect their rent.

They find the tenants (the app developers and advertisers).  They analyze the data. They create the tools.

The carriers – and this tiny little company – just sit back and collect their rent.

What is unbelievable is that this company is a small-cap. Some would call it a micro-cap.

Yet it provides the software that lets carriers monetize 100’s of millions of devices.

I’m not exaggerating.

Their software is probably on your phone right now.  You can’t see it. You can’t uninstall it.

But it’s there.  Delivering content to your phone – ads, apps, media – whatever the carrier wants.

This micro-cap controls the prime real estate on more than 250 million  Android devices globally – and is growing at 30+ per year.

And I think this company’s stock is a HUGE winner.  That kind of real estate portfolio just doesn’t go that cheap.  Get my FREE report on it by clicking HERE.

Why is it free? Because I want you to see my independent research at www.InvestingWhisperer.com, and consider subscribing to my service.  But I understand you want to see what you’re buying.

This micro-cap is the #3 app on smartphones after Google and Facebook.  It controls what you see on smartphone home screens.  It’s growing, it’s cash flow positive and I think the stock will be a massive home run – get your FREE report by clicking HERE.


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The big news out this last week was that Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) will permanently shut its South Philadelphia refinery in the next month.

Whether “permanent” means permanent, well, we’ll see.  But at the very least, the refinery isn’t coming back any time soon.

I’ve been watching the refiners closely for the last couple months.  The stocks have been miserable performers–and that has actually piqued my interest.

The South Philadelphia refinery is a good-sized one at 335,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd)–making it one of the larger ones in the country.

Consider that East Coast (Padd II) refining capacity is about 1,200,000 bopd.

The question is – does this new shortage of gasoline increase prices enough to increase crack spreads and make refiners a buy?

I would love to believe that.  Like I said, they have been kicked in the teeth. They can have big moves up when circumstances are right.

Consider how poorly they’ve performed since the peak in the summer of 2018:

If this group could turn around, the upside could be material.  I’d love to time that turn.

The problem is–I’m not seeing it yet.

The entire refining complex got a nice kick on Tuesday from the Philadelphia news.  Kudos if you were able to catch that.

Some will benefit more than others.  PBF Energy (PBF-NYSE) has 34% of their capacity on the northern East Coast, so I would see them as a beneficiary.

But taking a step back, I just don’t see the refiners outperforming until the Market is confident oil product demand is back on track, and that means a jumpstart to the global economy.

Second, we are just not short of refining capacity.

While the loss of East Coast barrels will hurt, there is enough product capacity out there and so they will be made up with imports from the Gulf Coast or overseas.

Crack spreads have been weak for most of the year.  While they briefly recovered here in Q2 19, they are back down to 5-year lows.

This is not just happening in the United States–Asian refining margins have also been weak.  Singapore gasoline margins have been close to break-even.  On average for the year they are the lowest since 2008.  Chinese oil demand has been declining and Chinese refiners are responding by exporting products.

Meanwhile in the United States product inventories are mixed. Gasoline inventories are above the 5-year average while distillates are dropping below.

That isn’t really a bad picture–it’s just not a great one.

You need to believe in one of two things to be willing to bet on the refiners.

  1. A global economic upturn
  2. IMO 2020

Refiners are not safe havens.  They are extremely susceptible to economic swings.  Whenever I get the urge to buy a refiner I go back and remind myself of what happened in 2008.

Now I realize that 2008 was a once in a lifetime event (let’s hope!) but its still worthwhile to review just how bad the refiners did in that recession.

Looking at Valero (VLO-NYSE) –the biggest and “safest” of all the refiner names–the stock dropped from $50 to $10.

Overall they underperformed a terrible overall market by a significant margin.  On average the names fell nearly 80% top to bottom.

The recovery was even worse.   It took nearly two years after the broad market for the refiners to begin to recover.

The inescapable conclusion is that in a slowing economy a bet on refiners is a dangerous one. Before I can buy a refiner for anything more than a quick trade, I must have confidence in the economy.

I’m not feeling enough love there right now.

If you are looking for a reason to buy refiners, you don’t have to look any further than IMO 2020.

Last summer the prospects of IMO 2020 sent the refiners up to their highs.  Some of that has come off shine has come off since then but IMO will still have an impact.

Investors are still looking at a potentially major disruption to the crude products market.  There will be increases to crude distillate demand, but  how much though is still a matter of opinion.

As a quick recap, the shipping industry has historically used high-sulphur fuel oil to run their ships.  This isn’t very good for the environment and the new UN mandated sulphur cap of 0.5% is intended to rectify that.

IMO 2020 means that ships will be required to either switch to a low-sulphur fuel or use scrubbers on the ships to remove the sulphur from the exhaust.

At this point we know where the scrubber number is going to be;  estimating the required distillate demand from ships isn’t too difficult.

RBC Capital Markets put out a note earlier this year estimating that 860 mbbl/d of additional distillates would be required by refiners through higher utilization rates.

They went on to say that higher utilization would require better margins.  Refiners respond to price, and we need to see crack spreads increase to spur the supply.

The more complex refiners (mostly located in the United States and run by the big players like Valero (VLO) and Marathon Petroleum (MPC)) will incur extra benefits.  They have cokers and hydro-crackers that can take advantage of what is expected to be wider heavy oil spreads to produce gasoline and distillate products.

That is the bull-case in a nutshell.

When does IMO start to impact the market?

On their Q1 call, Valero said they expected effects on the high-sulphur fuel side to start to appear in late-September, with impacts on distillates occurring in November-December.

If I had more evidence that oil demand (and the global economy) was strong, I would look at the impact of IMO 2020 and jump in for a trade.

But my question is, does it get lost in the shuffle?  A slow economy could offset a lot of that upside.

Another factor to watch is the WTI-Brent spread, which has curiously  been narrowing.  US refiners have the advantage of buying and refining WTI crude, which has trades at a discount to other crude types – particularly the Brent crude used by most European refiners.

The discounted WTI crude used by U.S. refiners boosts their margins as the refined products trade at similar prices across all regions regardless of the crude used to produce them

I’ll keep watching spreads, the forward curve on distillates, and the spreads on heavy oil.  Maybe these spreads will start to show me I’m being too cautious.

I’m willing to change my mind as the facts change.  But until then I’ll take the safer path and keep my money in my wallet.

EDITORS NOTE: I cover all kinds of energy stocks–including some solar stocks, which have been doing great lately.  My latest solar pick is up $7/share in the last 6 weeks. I think it’s going A LOT higher.  Get the name and symbol on this stock: Click here for quarterly access $ 149 per quarter (30 days no-questions refund)

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Roscan Gold is the stock that I think will be The Next Big Discovery in the mining world.

And it couldn’t have come at a better time, with gold breaking out above 5 year highs.

As I explain how CEO Greg Isenor and Director Dave Mosher have discovered over 10 million ounces of gold – with two of those assets now in production, you’ll probably gasp when I tell you this stock is trading at… 20 cents.

Twenty cents.  And here’s what they have:
1. They’re surrounded by some of the highest grade & most profitable gold mines in the world
2. With a cashed up treasury,
3. Two sets of great drill results already released
4. That caused a group of Smart Money to buy the last financing
3. Drills turning now

In a good gold market like we have now, and a Tier 1 team who have built and sold juniors before – the Market will instantly reward this stock it it hits a major multi-million ounce gold discovery.

The next set of drill results will be out in weeks.  Gold stocks are SO cheap, there is a BIG and EASY jump in them when they hit good results. Roscan Gold has a legitimate shot of being a MAJOR WIN before the end of 2019.

In this gold market, it will only take one press release.

Roscan is now drilling at its Mali (West Africa) based Kandiolé Project.  The West Mali Gold Belt has more than 35 million ounces of HIGH GRADE gold discovered – making it one of the most profitable regions in the world, with four HUGE mines operating right around Roscan’s Kandiole.  In fact, one of these mines is quite possibly the single most profitable gold mine in the world right now.

Of course, in a good gold market you own mostly the senior producers.  But Roscan is more than “a cheapie with a chance” as I’ll explain – this company has followed the rules of Discovery Investing to a “T”.

They’ve found and sold mines – that are producing today.  They own 25 million shares of Roscan. They’re in one of the highest grade gold belts in the world. There’s money in the bank and they are drilling NOW.  It ticks all the boxes for Discovery Investing.

And personally, I think a major discovery here is a matter of time – which is why I’ve loaded my portfolio up with Roscan shares right now. See if you agree.

CEO Greg Isenor has already made two major gold discoveries in the West Mali Gold Belt with the Siribya and Diakha deposits, which are now owned by IAMGold.  In fact, Siribya is right beside Kandiole, the property that Roscan is drilling on RIGHT NOW.  So when I tell you Isenor is an expert in this prolific gold belt, believe it. This man finds multi-million ounce gold deposits! And he finds them right here!

Before those two discoveries, Isenor also led the team that discovered the 5 million ounce Bissa gold deposit in Burkina Faso, also in West Africa.  It is now a producing mine operated by Nord Gold, a private Russian producer.

After 15 years in West Africa and 10 million ounces of gold under his belt, Isenor knows this region better than anyone else on the planet.

Kandiole is a project that Isenor has wanted to get his hands on so badly – for a decade – that when it came available, he had to commit the first $750,000 personally because the gold market was so bad at the time.  And he’s kept buying shares in the open market when he wasn’t in blackout periods.  At 20 cents, that tells me all I really need to know.

Director David Mosher brings more serious credibility to the Roscan story.

Under Mosher as CEO the market capitalization of High River Gold Mines increased from $7 million to more than $1 billion before it was acquired… CHA-CHA-CHA-CHING!!!

Mosher took three mines fully from exploration through to production at High River – including a mine in West Africa that is exactly like what the Roscan team sees at Kandiole.

All together the leadership group of Roscan has discovered almost 10 million ounces of gold through projects that are now producing.  And they’re drilling for their next one RIGHT NOW at Kandiole.

They’re considered such a sure bet by the Street, that more than 40% of Roscan’s shares are held by institutions. You NEVER SEE THAT for a junior miner of this size.  The Smart Money already owns the stock.

That credibility means that as soon as Roscan hits – the Market will reward them instantly, because the Street knows that Roscan’s leadership group can monetize a discovery.

That is why The Big Pay-Off here is potentially in months – not years.

Surrounded By Big Profitable Gold Mines

The West Mali Gold Belt is one of the the most productive greenstone gold belts in the world.

There are multiple 5 million ounce plus properties here, including:

Sadiola Mine (Iamgold – IMG-TSX) – 14 million ounces

Loulo Mine (Barrick – GOLD-NYSE) – 12 million ounces

Gounkoto Mine (Barrick – GOLD-NYSE) – 5 million ounces

Fekola Mine (B2 Gold – BTO-TSX) – 5.15 million ounces

The region is loaded with gold to the north, south, east and west of Roscan.

These 5 million ounce plus projects aren’t just big – they are also extremely profitable.

B2gold’s Fekola Deposit – in production right beside Roscan – is the 2nd lowest cost mine in the world with production of 400,000 oz gold or more.

All-in sustaining costs (AISC) for Fekola in 2018 were $533/oz – that isn’t good; with a $1,350/oz gold price that is great! The mine is gushing cash flow.

When I say best-in-the-world economics I’m not joking.  The table below details the AISC for the top gold miners in the world for 2018.

None of them even come close to $532/oz AISC of Fekola – an asset that could be a sister discovery to what Roscan may find.

Source: Financial Filings Of Respective Miners

What Are Five Million Ounces Of Gold Worth?

Mali is already home to several 5 million plus ounce discoveries, plus many more that are 1 million or higher.  They are all around Roscan.

It’s easy to see a 5 million ounce discovery in the stable gold mining region like Mali being worth $100/oz – B2Gold paid $108 per ounce to acquire Papillion immediately after discovery.

The table below shows you the price per ounce at which transactions have been taking place – the average and median both point to $100/oz.

Acquirer Seller/Asset US$ Per Ounce
Coeur Mining Northern Empire $115
Orion Dalradian $50
Sandstorm Gold Mariana Resources $226
Agnico Eagle Mines Santa Gertrudis $86
Eldorado Integra $128
B2Gold Papillion $108
Goldmining Inc Bellhaven $11
McEwen Mining Lexam VG Gold $36
High Valuation   $226
Low Valuation   $11
Median Valuation   $97
Average Valuation   $95

$100/oz means that a 5 million ounce hit here for Roscan would be worth at least $500 million for a company with a market capitalization under $20 million today.

Being conservative – even if Roscan ends up with a share count of 200 million as it brings this discovery towards production we are looking at a company that could be worth:

$500 million value / 200 million shares = $2.50 per share

With a current share price of 20 cents the upside here is HUGE.

With one of the best exploration teams in the world – certainly in West Africa – working for me, I can see shareholders making millions in a hurry just to fairly value a discovery – there is more upside as the team takes this towards development.

Even if Isenor’s discovery turns out to be considerably smaller, Roscan investors will still do very well; with producing gold mines operating nearby even a 700,000 ounce discovery will be very valuable and worth far more than the current share price.


Gold has broken out to a five year high!!  Because gold shares are SO cheap, there should be a fast and dramatic, first swing up.

I showed you charts of junior gold stocks that even in a bad gold market, made millionaires out of retail investors within weeks. It’s a fact: when a junior discovers a major gold deposit, the stock soars.  It is THE reason to invest in junior mining.

Now, with a GREAT gold market, the upside and frenzy should be even better.

Discovery Investing gives investors the best opportunity to make a life-changing win. This means:
1. Find a management team who have many discoveries.  Roscan – CHECK.
2. Make sure they own a lot of stock.  Roscan – CHECK.
3. They should be exploring in a big gold belt.  Roscan – CHECK.
4. Treasury is full? Roscan – CHECK.
5. Are they drilling NOW?  Roscan – CHECK.

On top of that, this tiny company already has huge institutional ownership – more than 40 percent of Roscan’s shares are institutionally owned. So the float on the stock is much smaller than you think.

To me, that means that when the retail money finds this stock, the upside here will happen spectacularly fast.  This is what investing in the juniors is all about. I didn’t mortgage my house to buy this stock, but I put enough in it that it will make a difference in my life if they hit.

Roscan looks just like High River Gold was before Roscan Director David Mosher took it from a market cap of $7 million to the more than $1 billion… on the back of another West Africa gold mine he discovered.

That is the upside potential.  The timeline to see that upside really isn’t a mystery.  Roscan is fully funded to drill constantly for this entire summer.

Drills are turning now.  Drill results will be steady for the next few months. All it is going to take is one little positive press release and Roscan’s stock could make investors at this price level very, very rich. That’s why I’m long ROS-TSXv.

Roscan management has sponsored this article. The information in this newsletter does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities of a corporation or entity, including U.S. Traded Securities or U.S. Quoted Securities, in the United States or to U.S. Persons.  Securities may not be offered or sold in the United States except in compliance with the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable U.S. state securities laws or pursuant to an exemption therefrom.  Any public offering of securities in the United States may only be made by means of a prospectus containing detailed information about the corporation or entity and its management as well as financial statements.  No securities regulatory authority in the United States has either approved or disapproved of the contents of any newsletter.

Keith Schaefer is not registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”): as a “broker-dealer” under the Exchange Act, as an “investment adviser” under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, or in any other capacity.  He is also not registered with any state securities commission or authority as a broker-dealer or investment advisor or in any other capacity.

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Have you ever had a stock go up 1000%–or 10x–in just one year?

It’s exhilarating–and a bit nerve wracking.

The best place to find these Huge Wins is in junior mining stocks.  And I expect to see A LOT more now that the gold price has broken out to 5 year highs.  There’s going to be a lot of new millionaires in the coming year!

As expected, only the senior gold stocks are moving so far–the intermediates and the juniors will follow.

I’m getting positioned NOW with one junior that has followed all the rules of what I call Discovery Investing

Discoveries makes stocks SOAR. Discoveries make retail investors rich.

Look at Great Bear Resources–GBR-TSXv from this time last year:

The stock soared from 60 cents to $3.40 in just two months–more than 500%!! once it made a discovery in one of the premier gold belts of the world–Red Lake in Ontario.  They followed all the rules–they had key shareholders who had built and sold juniors before and the company was cashed up with management’s money in a play with a great address.

Below, I’ll break-out these steps to successful to Discovery Investing–AND–show you where it’s pointing me in an email tomorrow. DON’T MISS TOMORROW’S EMAIL!!!!!!!!

I have every confidence that tomorrow’s email will make many of my readers A LOT of money.  I’m going to show you EXACTLY where I see The Next Big Discovery happening–likely within weeks.  And now that gold has broken out, expect the Market reaction to be immediate.

Discovery Investing Rule #1–You invest in a team that has built and sold a deposit before–making themselves and their shareholders rich. The team I’m introducing you to tomorrow has discovered and sold over 10 million ounces of gold!

Rule #1b–it’s even better if the deposit they discovered is in production.  This team has TWO assets now in production.

Rule #2–You want to see that management has put A LOT of their own money into their current company.

Tomorrow’s team owns over 25 million shares, and they paid for ALL of them. In fact, the CEO bought the
company’s property with his own money–this team is ALL-IN like few I’ve ever seen.

Rule #3–You want them exploring in a big mineralized area with lots of other mines–because you know that old saying–

“The best place to find gold is next to an existing mine”.

The Next Big Discovery–which I’m giving you on a gold platter tomorrow–is in a gold belt with over 35 million ounces discovered, where some of the most profitable mines in the world are operating right now.

Rule #4–treasury is cashed up and drilling.  Tomorrow’s company has the drills about to turn and is fully funded for this year.

The best part?  Well, exploration takes years–but investors have already seen some proof with the first set of drill results.  The stock ran up 400% in days! But in a tough junior mining market, it has come back to earth.

Management has continued to buy stock now that results are out, and the drills are about to turn again.

This stock has the PERFECT set-up.  It ticks all the boxes; it has followed this tried-and-true formula to a “T”.

I think it’s going to make a lot of people rich, in a very short period of time (including me!).

Here’s the story:

Management Has Already Done All the Hard Work

For more than a decade operating in this region this CEO has been stalking this specific property that is surrounded by major gold mines.

He watched with growing frustration as his most coveted opportunity sat in the hands of a party that couldn’t raise the money to develop it.

For ten long years he was unable to get his hands on the asset.  But he’s patient, and he was just able to buy this asset last year.

Raising money for grassroots exploration projects was almost impossible–so he used $750,000 of his own money as the lead order to buy it!

This man knows this region better than anyone! And for a decade this is the one property that he wanted. Now he has it.

This man has been exploring, developing and cashing out in this prolific gold trend area for 15 years with major success.  With his team he has been involved in discovering–and monetizing–almost 10 million ounces of gold.

At US$1,400 per ounce, that’s $14 billion in gold.  At an average valuation worldwide of $100 per ounce in the ground in a take-out, that’s $1 billion in shareholder value he and his team have created–all in this area.

But this is the Really Big Opportunity that he has always coveted.  And that’s why I want to put my money with this guy!

That is why he was the largest and lead order to get this asset initially and took on all of the risk.

You do that for one reason–because you know exactly what you are sitting on…a life-changing payoff.

It isn’t just the CEO who has loaded up with stock. The management and Board of Directors combined own more than 25 million shares and continue to add to that position. They have placed massive bets and are now on the cusp of being rewarded–the drills are turning NOW.

A Tiny Company Surrounded By Monster Gold Deposits

This company isn’t sitting beside an existing mine – it is surrounded by multiple mines which are SEVERAL multi-million ounce gold discoveries.

These are LOW COST producers–because they are high grade and near-surface. This is a mining investor’s dream!

As the only analyst who follows this company says…

“In our opinion, this company is in the early stages of making a major gold discovery…..”

“We believe these initial targets are only the tip of the iceberg…..”

There is no leap of faith required here. Everything around this property is laden with high-grade gold.

I’ve concluded that, the analyst has concluded that and company insiders have concluded that.

There were some GREAT results last year–and the stock jumped 400% IN ONE DAY.  Since then, the stock has returned to earth, and drilling in this prolific gold belt has just restarted.

The company has cash in the bank and yes, is now drilling.

How well situated is this property in this prolific gold belt?

Right beside this property you can find documented gold deposits of 14 million ounces, 12 million ounces, 5.15 million ounces, 5 million ounces and more.

Plus other recently announced discoveries that have yet to be quantified.

More importantly these discoveries don’t just contain a lot of gold, they contain a lot of gold that is highly profitable to mine.

The most high-profile producer in the region has AISC–All-In Sustaining Costs–of $600 per ounce of gold.
With gold selling at $1,400 per ounce you can make a lot of money by pulling it out of the ground for $600 per ounce.

To be clear I am Big Game Hunting with this stock – I’ve bought it because I expect a major positive announcement this summer.

I’m hoping for a repeat of the many 5 million ounce plus discoveries in the immediate area.  That has the potential (remember folks this is still all potential!) to make this stock a 20-bagger from here–and tomorrow I’ll show you my math on that.

My profits from this one stock will make my year.

WHAT IF I’M WRONG–and they only find a small gold deposit? Well, because it is completely surrounded by operating mines, even a minor gold discovery will result in a huge win for shareholders.

If this company finds only 10 percent of the gold that I’m expecting it will immediately make for an obvious takeover target for a nearby operator.

This management team is one of the top exploration groups in the business–who have already built and sold two other juniors.  They want to sell.  They own a BIG chunk of stock and want to recognized the value they’re creating.

And this puppy is so cheap–you’ll gasp tomorrow when I name this company and you see its share price. I expect any takeover to occur at a nice premium to the current share price.  And with gold starting to run, you can bet the producers will want to buy these high grade gold ounces as quick as they can.

For the next six months this company is going to be constantly drilling holes into this extraordinarily prolific property.

This non-stop drilling starts now and as soon as any good news comes out in this new gold market–this stock is gone.  This isn’t wealth creation that takes place gradually over time.  This is wealth creation that takes place overnight.

And that discovery–which could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars–will be 100% controlled by a company with a current market cap under $25 million.

Do Not Miss Tomorrow’s E-Mail!

That e-mail will tell you where I expect The Next Big Discovery–possibly within weeks.  It has every ingredient I look for:

  1. Management has discovered, developed and sold close to 10 million ounces of gold. Two assets they developed are in production right now in this belt.
  2. They own over 25 million shares
  3. They’re exploring in one of the most prolific gold belts in the world, and are surrounded by other mines already in production
  4. They’re cashed up and drilling NOW.

Tomorrow you’ll get the specifics of the team, the gold belt, their property–and of course the name and ticker of The Next Big Discovery.

Be ready.

Keith Schaefer
Publisher, Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin

[[T_F]]Data Leak Prevention – Data Security Solutions – Information Theft Protection, Detection and Prevention Software Productstracefusion_signature=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[[T_F]]
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These are dark days for the ethanol industry.  It’s very much a different story from 2013-2015, when Green Plains (GPRE-NASD) was a great investment, and one of my biggest wins.  It went from $4-$48 in two years, and I caught the run from $9-$30.

Ethanol is gasoline made from corn, and it gets very profitable when corn prices (input costs) go down and oil prices (output prices) go up–which is exactly what happened in 2013-2014.

But I stopped following it a couple years ago, as its ethanol margins were always the worst of the major ethanol producers–Valero, Archer Daniels, Pacific Ethanol.  And its accounting made it too opaque to model.

Back in the good ole’ days ethanol margins hit $2 per gallon (February 2014)!  But now ethanol margins are horrible.  Inventories high.  Regulations have been a headwind.

On January 28th margins hit their lowest point in history.

They’ve recovered some since then but are still negative.

Yet negative margins don’t seem to be resolving the glut.  Inventories remain near all-time highs.

This environment has Green Plains, the fourth largest ethanol producer in the United States, launching a fire sale.

Green Plains sold 3 ethanol plants in November last year for $319 million.  These plants (Lakota, IA, Bluffton, IN and Riga, MI) were three of their most efficient assets.

That’s been the theme – sell what you can.  Not a surprise for a company under distress.  Analysts at Craig Hallum estimated the three ethanol plants would have generated $15-$20m million of EBITDA in 2019.

Also in November, Green Plains sold their Fleischmann’s Vinegar business to Kerry Group for $353 million.

Fleischmann’s Vinegar was generating around $40 million EBITDA.

The asset sales are raising much needed cash, but they aren’t doing much for the income statement.

Consider the dispositions in this context: Green Plains had only $80 million of EBITDA in all of 2018!

The first quarter continued the trend – weakness.  A net loss of $1.09 per share on negative EBITDA.

More troubling was that the cash outflow from operations was $25 million.

Green Plains tried to stabilize the market in the first quarter, cutting back on production.  Their operating capacity in the first quarter was only 56%.

It has worked in the past.  But not this time.  As the company said:

“while it may have helped a little bit, it wasn’t like the first couple times that we’ve done that… this time we actually saw that we didn’t have an impact on the overall margin structure because of the oversupply situation.”

If the cash flow statement wasn’t bad enough, Green Plains has cash going out the door by way of volume commitments with their 50% MLP Green Plains Partners.

Green Plains Partners generated $11 million of distributable cash flow in the first quarter.  They are consolidated on Green Plains balance sheet.  This means the cash flow numbers for the Green Plains parent are closer to -$30 million of outflows for the quarter.

Finally, things could get worse.

How is that possible?  Green Plains is buying last years corn for its feedstock right now.  But a slow spring with floods in the Midwest are pushing up futures of fall corn.

Corn is trading at $4 in Iowa right now.  September corn is at $4.45.  Another 10% hit to margins in the cards unless something changes.

Add it all together and this has all the makings of a perfect short.


Probably, but lets take a look at the risks.

The main fly in the ointment is the Trump administration.

In the past the Trump team has made some moves that have hurt ethanol and hurt Green Plains.

Trump’s first EPA head, Scott Pruitt, sent the industry into regulatory turmoil.

Pruitt signed a surge of small-refinery exemption waivers.  The waivers are essentially an exemption on blend requirements – with the waiver the refiner doesn’t have to blend ethanol.  These waivers were issued to both small and large producers, including to some large and profitable oil companies.

That hurt companies like Green Plains, as it effectively reduced ethanol demand.

A second punch came from the trade wars.  Green Plains has estimated that the impact on the trade wars has been a 20-30c a gallon decline in margins.

I don’t know if I buy what they are saying at face value.  Margins were slim in the fall of 2018 (before the trade war really erupted).  Today, oil is lower and corn is higher.  Changes in margins have been more complicated than that.

But no question that the regulatory environment hasn’t been favorable.  However, with the election approaching that’s changing.

Big picture is Trump wants to help farmers.  He’s hurt them with the trade war.  He knows it.  They know it.

An easy bone to throw is to mandate increased ethanol demand.

There are two ways Trump is doing that.

At the end of May the EPA announced changes that would roll back the summertime ban on E15 fuel.  This is a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline.  The restriction had previously limited ethanol blending to 8 months of the year.

Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline (although it has less energy content).  Blenders capture more margin when they blend more ethanol.  Those with access to ethanol will blend as much as they can.

This one is a done deal.  It likely isn’t going to have an immediate impact.  But come next summer we should start to see more ethanol blending.

The second and potentially bigger impact could come from a deal with China.
Tariffs on ethanol to China are 70% right now.  Ethanol exports to China have been part of the trade negotiations.  The numbers being bandied about have China buying between 400 million gallons to 800 million gallons a year.

400 million gallons is around 10 million barrels.  That is about ½ the level of current inventories.  800 million gallons would be the entire US inventory.

If those numbers happen, it will mean a boost for ethanol margins.

More important for a prospective short-seller, it likely means a pop in the share price of Green Plains.
So that is the risk.

Apart from a positive trade war resolution though, there is not much to like about Green Plains right now.

IMHO, its very solvency is in question.  It could go to zero.

But even with that risk on the table I’ll be watching the slow train wreck that is Green Plains from the sidelines.  I think I know where its headed but curious if they get saved by the bell.

Keith Schaefer

Publisher, Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin

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I can’t believe it has been ten years – an entire decade since I launched the Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin in the spring of 2009.

I started with a mission to explain The Shale Revolution in simple English to retail investors…and make some money doing it, by trading my own account.

While the energy sector has struggled over this ten year period, my personal portfolio – made up entirely of OGIB subscriber picks – has done very well by any measure.

The chart below compares the OGIB results with both the XLE (energy sector) and the S&P 500.  While my OGIB portfolio is up nine-fold the energy sector is up only 50 percent – it is always about exploiting the cyclicality of the energy industry not suffering from it folks!

Despite this, I do feel that I’ve left a ton of money on the table… because the energy sector is only 5% of the world’s 40,000 publicly traded stocks.

I’m at a disadvantage with just one small sector.

There is no question that over the last 10 years I have become a much better investor, honing in on what to look for in financials, how to talk to  management, market expectations and more.

I’ve also developed many more valuable connections throughout the North American investment industry.

As I have started to use all this experience and discipline to branch out to other sectors to stay alive, relevant, and wealthy – I found success again in my premium subscriber group The Conversations. With The Conversations we have been finding dirt cheap, rapidly growing small-cap companies across many different sectors – not just the energy sector.

There is a world of opportunities out there folks and I want a piece of them.  The chart above shows the investing performance we have accomplished with just the energy sector to pick from – I know that I can do even better with more freedom!

That is why I’m so excited to announce that I am launching a new subscriber service at www.investingwhisperer.com. This is where I’m going to be investing in companies outside of the energy sector – the other 95 percent of the market.

There will be no change to my OGIB service. I’ve still got my seven figure OGIB portfolio to invest and for the first time in awhile, oil stocks are making me good money!

But if I can grow my portfolio nine-fold over ten years while investing in a sector that only went up 50 percent…. I can’t wait to see what I can do with Investing Whisperer where I get dig out the best small-cap opportunities in every sector!

I’m NOT doing micro-caps or companies with no revenue.  I’m looking for companies that trade between $1-$15 and are either self-funding, or about to be self-funding in the next quarter or two. My colleague Paul Andreola does the micro-cap investing, and he is very talented at it.

I have a new writer/researcher.  I have several new research services to which I subscribe. With OGIB I spend $80,000 per year on research alone – and that doesn’t speak to what I spend on dinners with CEOs or industry experts, plus the cost of attending conferences, travelling to meet management and paying my analyst/writers.

At Investing Whisperer I’ll be doing the same because I’m going after the best small growth stocks in every sector.

Investing Whisperer subscribers won’t be just getting me – they will be getting access to the knowledge and ideas that come from the tens of thousands of dollars of research that I purchase every year.

I’m still buying all of the stocks I choose from my research – eating my own cooking, so to speak. The real money in the business is deploying my own capital.  I really do make my money by risking my family’s money in the stock picks I provide you.

It was stock picks like Canadian Energy Services (CEU-TSX; $2-$11), Pacific Ethanol (PEIX-NASD; $3-$23), and Resolute Energy (REN-NYSE; $5-$48) that made the big difference for me.  But even when energy stocks were tough, I found stocks like Northern Tier (NTI-NYSE; $19-$31) and Viper Energy (VNOM-NASD; $16-$42).

What would you pay to increase your wealth 900% in the next decade? $20,000?  $50,000? $100,000? You can get my full research reports and market timing for just US$99/month – BUT THIS PRICE WON’T LAST LONG.

After the first 3 months, getting full access to my research and stock picks will be US$1,497 annually, or $125/month.

Ten years have passed and my OGIB investment performance has turned $10,000 into almost $90,000 in a sector that has seen many of the very best hedge funds forced into liquidation.

I produce results because I have no other choice.  This is how I make my living.

Over the next ten years I’m taking things up another notch – I’m going to keep growing my OGIB portfolio and I’m ready to take what I have learned there and use it to fish in a pool that is ten times as large with much bigger and better opportunities.

MY FIRST PICK IS READY TO GO.  It’s a technology stock with a clean share structure, where management owns a lot of stock, has fast growing revenues and a very cheap valuation.  I just put $75,000 of my own money into it.

Get this stock working for you quickly – they are about to announce their next set of quarterly results!

Yes, I want to start subscribing to InvestingWhisperer!

Sounds interesting. Tell me more!


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I can’t believe I’m saying this – but I think Canadian oil stocks could outperform US oil stocks this year.  The charts look great, and it looks like we’re coming out of maximum pessimism in the oilpatch.  That’s where BIG GAINS are made.

The Market is starting to price in three factors IMHO:

1. The heavy oil story in Canada – heavy oil prices bottomed at US$10/b in late 2018, and now they are over US$50!  Nobody thought that would happen so quick.

2. Regime change in Alberta and Ottawa – the left wing New Democratic Party will almost certainly get defeated in this Tuesday’s election.  And the federal election in October is now a toss-up – only 6 weeks ago I would have bet you a steak dinner that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would get re-elected with a majority

(However, if there is an upset in the Alberta election on Tuesday and the opposition UCP – United Conservative Party – doesn’t win a majority, you can throw all those good looking charts in the garbage.)

3. Natural gas prices will stay low, and maybe even go lower in 2019 as LNG prices around the world are collapsing – threatening a very important relief valve in US pricing.  As I’ve said many times, there is no such thing as an “oil producer” in the United States – they ALL have much higher natural gas weightings (due to deeper geology) than Canada, and that will mean much lower realized pricing in the coming quarterlies for US producers.

Basically, Canadian geology and profitability will finally outweigh our dysfunctional governments in the minds of institutional investors, and there is now a “catch-up trade” underway in Canadian energy stocks.

Several Canadian oil producers now have Free Cash Flow ratios that would make them world leaders in almost ANY industry – and the Market is now willing to see through the political clouds and take a chance here at ridiculously valuations – I mean two and three times cash flow.

(Note that very few of the intermediate and even larger US independent producers generate Free Cash Flow.)

A huge free cash flow yield means a company can buy back LOTS of outstanding shares in two or three years. Valuations like that self-correct quite quickly.

Huge differentials – the industry term for discounts – have been more than priced in for these companies while the reality is the opposite – heavy oil “diffs” in particular have come in dramatically (see Point #1).

Here are some charts of Canadian oil stocks that show what I’m talking about:

I told my premium subscriber group on our bi-weekly Wednesday call – when charts start to perform like this sector-wide, what’s really important is – DON’T THINK.  Respect the charts and buy (mostly) the larger cap players who are so cheap they could still double (both by deleveraging and getting a multiple increase) and some (just a little bit) of the more volatile juniors that have lower quality shareholders (almost all retail, no institutional) and will go down in price a lot more when the chart starts to consolidate or when a small bit of bad news hits.

Production declines in Venezuela and Mexico should drive the Canadian heavy oil story for months; probably several quarters and quite possibly for years. (But things do change fast in energy!)   If you believe – as I do – that the Saudis can’t actually produce more than 10.5 million bopd for any real length of time, then the heavy oil story has YEARS and these stocks could hit 2014 levels (that would be a quadruple for most of them still).

Only a few short weeks ago I never thought I would say this – but I think Canadian oil stocks will outperform US oil stocks in 2019.

Find out my Top Picks today!   To subscribe to my Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin independent research service, click here:

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Keith Schaefer

Publisher, Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin


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Paul Andreola is one very patient–and very successful–investor.  In the 20 years that I have known him, he has been a stockbroker, a CEO of a public company, a company founder, and a full time investor.  He has looked at the investing  game from every angle.

And last week he tweeted out:

Despised is right!  Even I despise Canadian oil stocks some days!  (Like TODAY!) So I brought Paul into my studio for  a quick interview to get updated on what he is seeing in Canadian energy stocks, and his investing strategy.  Here’s what he had to say:


Keith Schaefer
Publisher, Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin

[[T_F]]Data Leak Prevention – Data Security Solutions – Information Theft Protection, Detection and Prevention Software Productstracefusion_signature=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[[T_F]]
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Before I begin investing in a new sector, I want to talk to the smartest people in that industry.  Canopy Rivers (RIV-TSXv) President Narbe Alexandrian is one of those people in the fast growing marijuana sector.  I sat down with Narbe recently and was able to learn a lot about how this public Venture Capital firm has created some early successes, and how and his team are positioning the company as marijuana, hemp and CBD gain acceptance around the globe.

The stock made a quick 50% move once I profiled the company in early January!

I’ve enclosed most of my interview with Alexandrian below.  I think you’ll learn A LOT about the industry, how Alexandrian sees it developing and a bit more colour on what I see as the biggest catalyst for their shares this year – their very accretive investment in a company called PharmHouse.

Keith:    Narbe, I have so much ask you – especially how your team is positioning Canopy Rivers for the long term.  But first tell me how you started with Canopy Rivers.

Narbe:    I joined Canopy Rivers about eight months ago. My background has been mostly in the technology trade. I started my career at Deloitte as a Management Consultant and in M&A while getting my CPA. I then moved into the tech industry – where I’ve spent the last decade working with startups and helping them grow.

Over the last four years, prior to joining Canopy Rivers, I worked at OMERS Ventures as a venture capitalist, the largest tech VC in Canada.

I was at OMERS Ventures fairly early when we were just a single fund, $180 million of assets under management. Prior to leaving, we had raised two other funds, with just under a billion dollars of assets under management and a very strong portfolio.

I made the move to cannabis when I started seeing the same things as a I saw in the Canadian tech industry back in 2011/2012. Back then, there were no real venture capitalists in tech – companies needed to move to the US when they got to a certain size, because there was a lack of capital in Canada.

In cannabis, it’s sort of the same, but in the opposite fashion. You have strong operators that are finding angel and early stage funding, and hedge funds who are backing pre-public companies – but nobody is taking the risk in the middle of the lifecycle, writing cheques in Series A to Series C rounds, and being patient with their capital. The larger US players can’t fully participate in funding startups, due to legality issues there, giving Canadians a powerplay.

Keith:    So where do you focus all this time and effort… how do you see the marijuana business unfolding in the next few years and where do you think is the best place to put investors’ money?

Narbe:    We believe that cannabis industry is going to move in five distinct waves, in any developed country that is looking for legalization. The first wave is cultivation – these are the farmers of cannabis. First movers have historically profited the most from this, in geographies where licenses are hard to get and fairly scarce.

From there, there’s the wave of ancillary businesses. These businesses are the providers of products/services related to the broader cannabis economy. Ancillary businesses are subject to less risk from fewer rules and regulations to abide by, but represent close to three times the size of the cultivation industry. Our data shows that there are 3,000-4,000 cannabis ancillary businesses alone.

The third wave is consumer product goods. We believe that the end-consumer still doesn’t have much loyalty across product offerings yet – the industry is just too new. Over time, brands will dominate, commanding high margins and extreme customer loyalty. There’s a lot of consumer mind share for cannabis companies to capture, and until consumers see the Guinness or the Marlboro of the cannabis world, it’s still up for grabs.

Wave four is big pharma, where over-the-counter and prescription drugs will come out that help lighter symptoms, such as arthritis, sleeplessness, and inflammation, to harder symptoms such as epilepsy and cancer.

Finally, we get to wave five, which is mass market. Here we will expect three to four companies to begin mass consolidation of the industry, becoming the Coca-Cola and Pepsi of the cannabis world.

Keith:    Got it. So, to talk to me a little bit about quality of management so far in these companies that must rank range from soup to nuts. And how do you handicap that? Is that a place where you guys can see a big value-add, using your network to help put senior people in? Are teams open to that? What about that idea?

Narbe:    Yeah, absolutely. There are companies out there that have great promoters but not much substance, commanding huge valuations. Unfortunately, many of them are riding the wave of popularity that cannabis has brought on, and likely won’t be able to withstand the long-stretch. What we like are strong entrepreneurs and repeat entrepreneurs, who understand the ebbs and flows of the life of being an entrepreneur, and have made the move from a traditional industry into the cannabis industry.

For example, we could get a former Coca-Cola product manager that decides to get into cannabis beverage space, bringing in their understanding of supply chain, product development and branding. And they come and pitch us on making a cannabis product. They have the contacts, the experience and can do what a family brand like Coca-Cola cannot, which is build a business in cannabis.

Keith:    Would you be willing to give me an example of a company in your portfolio?

Narbe:    Well, let me tell you a bit about one recent investment – LeafLink International. We identified that the cannabis industry was becoming increasingly fragmented in the market. There are over 5,000 cannabis dispensaries in North America alone, and over 2,000 brands. As a retail operator, it would be impossible to keep track of inventory, re-stocking and discovering new brands.

We went out to the market – with our proprietary due-diligence process – to find the best technological solution for that need. After speaking to dozens of companies within the space, we kept hearing about how they compared to LeafLink, a company that was capturing ~50% of any given market within 6-8 months of launch. With all the problems we were seeing with the supply chain in Canada and the UK, we thought this investment was a no-brainer.

Keith:    Right. Okay. And in terms of… You touched briefly on jurisdiction. You want to maybe give me a little more color there. What are you seeing where… The international arena is obviously a little less developed, but maybe there’s more upside there because of that, or do you have to be more patient, take a longer term view there, or is there any catalyst in any of these international jurisdictions that you think that’d be coming up this calendar year that could kind of change the landscape for that particular jurisdiction, or…

Narbe:    The catalyst for international expansion is governed by regulation. In many of these international jurisdictions, they’re getting closer and closer to legalization, either from a recreational or medicinal standpoint. We’re seeing a lot of these countries are looking at Canada as the poster child.

They are patiently waiting to see how the legalization program works out, while also kicking the tires with their voting body to see how they would react to a potential decriminalization or full-blown legalization. Geographically, we’re seeing a lot of movement in the US, Europe, Latin America and Australia, with some whispers from the likes of population powerhouses, India and China.

At the end of the day, it’s a $600 billion dollar industry on a global scale, but to get there, you have to have favorable regulations.

Keith:    Obviously there’s a higher threshold for investing in a pre-revenue company. What do you look for when it’s pre-revenue, which by definition is a little higher risk, earlier stage?

Narbe:    At the pre-revenue stage, the focus is on the operator of the business because things could change and the business model could pivot. At the post-revenue stage, the focus is more on the business model and and traction.

Keith:    What do you think is the most underappreciated part of this market by the mainstream street retail… the sell-side.

Narbe:    The most under-appreciated part is how difficult it is to likely get proper talent within a cannabis company. For a lot of these large LPs, it’s a bit easier because you have an established company, established stock, a business model and so forth. In contrast, a startup has to convince someone from the traditional space to leave their job and come into an industry where it’s highly regulated and it’s difficult to bring products to market.

Keith:    Okay, for… We’ve talked a lot of macro stuff. Just within your own portfolio, you’ve kind of had a chance now to get familiar with it. And some of the stuff you were probably involved in; some of it you perhaps weren’t. Tell me a little bit about what’s your favorite investment? What… which company in the portfolio gets you the most excited right now?

Narbe:    To be frank, all of them are. I love all of them equally. There’s always a rule in VC that you can’t really pick your favorites. And I have to stick to my guns here – I don’t have a favorite. I like them all equally.

Keith:    Well, let’s talk about PharmHouse just because that’s kind of one of the bigger ones. When I did my original piece of the company, I really kind of focused in there because certainly that’s the one that I saw that had the scale to provide the biggest upside for Rivers’ stock this calendar year.

Can you run through with me how you see that investment developing. What do you see as the milestones for that company, being as it does seem to be such a big, big thing for you guys. The Street’s modeling a lot of cash flow to that play for you guys by the end of this calendar year. What do you see as the mini-milestones there is going to lead up to the street starting to recognize the value there in Rivers?

Narbe:    I mean you have the recipe for success in PharmHouse. You have a 1.3 million square foot facility with operators that have been working on greenhouses for decades and have become leaders in this space. I think the investment community overlooks how potentially large and accretive this partnership could become.

Our Pharmhouse partners operate over 30 million square feet of greenhouses across the world and CIBC estimates they do north of  USD$1 billion in sales per year in tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Our partners’ geographical greenhouse footprint covers the United States including States like California, Michigan, Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Illinois. All of these states allow cannabis consumption in some form and five of them are in the top 10 most populated States in America.

This is really important as Rivers has an international non-compete with PharmHouse, allowing us to purchase up to 49% of any of these operations at book value, giving us a long-tailed call option on future US and international operations as those markets open up.

And we operate in a fantastic region, Leamington, Ontario, where you can get access to the talent you need to develop strong product, a strong management team, and a strong agricultural team. Then you bring in Canopy Rivers and the backing of Canopy Growth, which is the largest cannabis producer worldwide.

Keith:    Does the size of your facility put any extra pressure or hurdles in your way because obviously you guys are huge.

Narbe:    It’s difficult to secure an area that’s the size of three football fields than it is to secure a thousand square foot room, particularly when you need to have video surveillance covering the entire facility, laser motion sensors, and detectors through the roof. You need to secure this whereby there’s an alarm that would be triggered if anybody tried to penetrate the area.

That being said, the security team that we’ve engaged has secured million square foot facilities for Canopy Growth. So, we’re pretty comfortable with our business plan layout and making sure that we know how to pass the test, if you will, in that we’ve written it a few times. So, while it’s challenging, and it was challenging the first time Canopy went through it. Olivier Dufourmantelle, our COO, he has probably helped with the licensing of over 5 million square feet of grows across the country. We’re pretty confident in our ability to get that done.

Keith:     Narbe,  we’ve covered a lot here today. Is there something that we haven’t covered that you think is important to any part of the company or the industry, that you think is intriguing or maybe underappreciated by the street or interesting to you guys?

Narbe:    I think the one thing I’ll leave you with Keith, is that the company has grown substantially with the ~$300 million it has raised to date. The pipeline is in fantastic shape, and right now, where it’s trading in the market, investors have an opportunity to invest in a portfolio of the next generation of leading cannabis companies, all at pre-public valuations. At a high level I’d say that you’ve got more fuel and more gas in the tank, a more robust management team, a great opportunity set, and pipeline system that’s sourcing and identifying opportunities.

Keith:    Narbe, thank you so much for talking with me today on the cannabis space and what your team is doing at Canopy Rivers to make money from all that.

Narbe:    Thank you, Keith.
Keith Schaefer
Publisher, Oil and Gas Investments Bulletin

[[T_F]]Data Leak Prevention – Data Security Solutions – Information Theft Protection, Detection and Prevention Software Productstracefusion_signature=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[[T_F]]
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