Friday, May 11, 2012

Goldman Sachs upgrades Petra Diamonds to 'buy'

Petra Diamonds (LON:PDL) was upgraded by one notch to ‘buy’ by Goldman Sachs, which said shares in the FTSE 250 diamond group underperformed over the past five weeks.“We believe this is unwarranted given growth plans remain on result, we upgrade the stock to a buy,” the investment bank said in a note today.

While Goldman upgraded the stock, Northland Capital reduced its target price for Petra due to a decline in grades and increase in costs in the third quarter.However, the broker upheld its ‘buy’ recommendation on the stock, saying that Petra’s investment plans and ramp-up of production at the Finsch mine in South Africa offers shareholders increased returned from a medium risk capex.

The new target of 185 pence, donw from 200 pence previously, still represents a substantial premium to the current share price of 150 pence, which gives it a market cap of nearly £800 million.In its third quarter report, Petra revealed that production jumped 126 percent to 622,509 carats, while revenues rose US$98 million compared with the revenues of US$101.4 million posted for the entire first half of 2012.

While production from Finsch was ahead of expectations at 343,051 carats, grades at the Cullinan mine slipped to 31.5 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht) from 34.8 cpht in the first half, which was partly offset by an increase in tonnes.

In addition, output from other operations undershot forecasts.Northland analyst Ryan Long still expects Petra to hit its full year production target of 2.2 million carats, however, he said lower rough diamond prices are likely to reduce revenues.“The Finsch Mine was a sparkling performer compared to a group of assets that underperformed,” said Long.

“We continue to believe in the ability of Petra’s management and the quality of the assets despite the setbacks encountered in 2012.”

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