Franco-Nevada Corporation (NYSE:FNV) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript

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Franco-Nevada Corporation (NYSE:FNV) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript March 16, 2023

Operator: Good morning and welcome to Franco-Nevada Corporation's 2022 Year End Results Conference Call and Webcast. This call is being recorded on March 16, 2023. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Candida Hayden, Senior Analyst, Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Candida Hayden: Thank you, Michelle. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today to discuss Franco-Nevada's 2022 year end results. Accompanying this call is a presentation, which is available on our website at, where you will also find our full financial results. The presentation is also available to view on the webcast. During this call €“ sorry, during our call this morning, Paul Brink, President and CEO of Franco-Nevada, will provide introductory remarks followed by Sandip Rana, our Chief Financial Officer, who will provide a brief review of our results. This will be followed by a Q&A period. Our full executive team is available to answer any questions. Participants may submit questions by telephone or via the webcast.

We would like to remind participants that some of today's commentary may contain forward-looking information and we refer you to our detailed cautionary note on Slide 3 of this presentation. I will now turn the call over to Paul Brink, President and CEO of Franco-Nevada.

Paul Brink: Thanks, Candida and good morning. I am pleased to report strong fourth quarter and annual results for 2022. Our diversified assets outperformed driven by elevated energy prices in the year. The benefit of our top line business was again apparent. While inflation impacted the margins of many operating companies, our EBITDA margins actually expanded slightly and our business generated record profits. It's good to see our efforts on ESG being well received. Most recently, we were awarded a Sustainalytics global top 50 rating given to the top 50 companies in their ratings universe. This January, we announced our 16th consecutive annual dividend increase. The roughly 6% increase takes our quarterly dividend to $0.34 per share.

Many of our largest shareholders have held the stock since the IPO and they are now realizing a 12% yield in Canadian dollars or almost 9% in U.S. dollars. The renegotiation of the Cobre Panama concession contract over the last few months and the brief production halt caused some sleepless nights. It was a relief I am sure for everyone last week, when First Quantum and the government reached agreement on a refreshed contract. We hope it moves swiftly through public consultation and parliamentary approval. Turning to outlook. For 2023, our precious metal GEOs and our diversified production are expected to be consistent with 2022. Although total GEOs are expected to be lower as current energy prices are off from the highs of last year. We are looking forward to Cobre Panama reaching its expanded throughput capacity of 100 million ton per annum by year end and also to initial contributions from 3 new gold mines during the year, Magino, Séguéla and Salares Norte.

Our 5-year outlook shows ongoing growth in the business. This organic growth comes from both mine expansions and new mines. The most significant new additions during the period are expected from Tocantinzinho, Vale's Southeastern Iron Ore Systems and Hardrock in Ontario. We expect Mine Waste Solutions will have reached its cap in 2024 and also a step down in the Candelaria Stream rate in 2027. Resource optionality continues to drive our business. Success at the drill bit will provide one of our biggest annual increases in reserves from our underlying assets. The biggest impacts are reserve increases at Detour Lake and Cascabel. We will publish our attributable royalty ounces with our asset handbook in April. The global drive for electrification will be good for Franco-Nevada's longer term outlook.

Along with a deep portfolio of royalties on gold exploration properties we have royalties on what are likely some of the next generation of copper and nickel mines. Our business development team is seeing good opportunities for precious metal financings, in particular, financing new gold mines. We expanded the scope of our financing package with the Tocantinzinho transaction with G Mining Ventures last year and are seeing good interest in similar structures. To wrap up, Franco-Nevada has no debt, $2.2 billion in available capital, and in these uncertain markets, couldn't be better positioned to continue its growth record. I will now hand over the call to Sandip.

Gold, Ore, Excavation
Gold, Ore, Excavation

Photo by wilhelm gunkel on Unsplash

Sandip Rana: Thanks, Paul. Good morning, everyone. As mentioned by Paul, Franco-Nevada ended 2022 with a strong fourth quarter, resulting in record financial results for the full year. The company saw strong underlying production from our diverse portfolio of assets during the quarter. The majority of our mining assets performed in line with our expectations. However, revenue and earnings were impacted by weaker precious metal commodity prices and timing of deliveries for certain assets. The one area of the business that continued to deliver strong financial results was the energy assets. As you turn to Slide 4, you can see how the company performed against the guidance that was issued for 2022. The initial guidance provided by the company for the year was 680,000 to 740,000 total GEOs sold.

Of this total, we guided to 510,000 to 550,000 precious metal GEOs with the balance being from diversified assets. The company ended the year with 729,960 total GEOs sold which is at the high-end of the guidance range. However, we were at the lower end of the range for precious metals with just over 510,000 GEOs sold. This was due to lower GEOs than expected from Stillwater, Antamina and Cobre Panama, with a portion of the lower GEOs being related to price impact on conversion of non-gold commodities to GEOs. The diversified assets had a strong year driven by higher energy prices. This resulted in coming in ahead of our expected guidance with 219,575 total diversified GEOs. On Slide 5, we highlight the gold equivalent ounces sold for the last five quarters as well as the previous 5 years.

Overall, GEOs sold were relatively flat when compared to prior year with Q4 2022 GEOs sold being 183,886 compared to 182,543 in fourth quarter last year. Of this, precious metal GEOs were 129,642, down 6.6% from prior year. For the quarter, the largest contributors to the lower precious metals were Cobre Panama, Antapaccay and Guadalupe. At Cobre Panama, First Quantum had another strong quarter as it moves towards production of 100 million tons per year. However, for the quarter, due to timing of shipments, gold and silver deliveries and ounces sold were lower than expected for the company. As we look to Q1 2023, we do expect a delay in precious metal deliveries from Cobre Panama due to the temporary production curtailment that did occur. We expect to have a stronger Q2.

Antapaccay delivered less ounces than prior year, but was in line with our expectations for the quarter and the operator at Guadalupe mined less ounces on lands to which our stream applies resulting in lower GEOs delivered. Partially offsetting the lower precious metal yields from these assets mentioned were Hemlo and Tasiast, where we had strong fourth quarters. For diversified GEOs, our Vale royalty resulted in just over 4,000 GEOs for the quarter. This was lower than prior year due to lower production and lower iron ore prices. As you know, each quarter, we make an estimate of what the royalty will be with the actual amount being announced by Vale in late March and September each year. As a result, you will see adjustments to our accruals twice a year in Q1 and Q3.

The strong fourth quarter closed out the year with 729,960 GEOs sold for 2022, the highest annual level thus far for Franco-Nevada. Precious metal GEOs represented approximately 70% of total GEOs for the quarter and for the full year. 2022 saw continued volatility in commodity prices. As you see on Slide 6, most precious metal prices were lower for the quarter and the year. This did impact the conversion of metals to GEOs. Energy prices were again strong in 2022, reaching multiyear highs. However, oil and especially natural gas prices have both retreated in the first part of 2023. Slide 7 highlights our total revenue and adjusted EBITDA amounts for the 3 and 12 months ended December 31, 2022 and €˜21. As you can see from the bar charts, revenue and adjusted EBITDA has decreased slightly for Q4 2022 compared to prior year.

The company reported $320.4 million in revenue in the fourth quarter and $262.4 million in adjusted EBITDA, a margin of 81.9% was achieved. Fourth quarter continued the strong contribution from the energy assets as revenue increased from $62 million a year ago to $82.7 million this quarter. The increase was due to the continued strong energy prices, especially natural gas. West Texas Intermediate oil price averaged $82.65 a barrel in the quarter, natural gas prices increased significantly with Henry Hub averaging over $6 an Mcf in the fourth quarter compared to $4.85 an Mcf a year ago. For the full year, the company recorded $1.31 billion in revenue and $1.1 billion in adjusted EBITDA, both records for the company. As you turn to Slide 8, you will see the key financial results for the company.

Although GEOs were slightly higher for the quarter, revenue was lower because of lower precious metal prices. On the cost side, we did have a decrease in cost of sales as less stream ounces were delivered and sold compared to prior year. Cost of sales is dependent on which assets deliver stream ounces as not all fixed payments per stream ounce are equal. Depletion decreased to $73.5 million versus $78.2 million a year ago. Depletion is based on actual mining GEOs sold in barrels of oil equivalent received on the energy side. As we received less GEOs from Antapaccay, Cobre Panama and Vale, this impacted depletion as those assets are higher per ounce depletion assets. For the full year 2022, adjusted net income was $697.6 million. Slide 9 highlights the continued diversification of the portfolio.

As shown, 70% of our 2022 revenue was generated by precious metals. The geographic revenue profile has revenue being sourced 91% from the Americas, with Canada and the U.S. being the largest. And with respect to asset diversification, Cobre Panama was again our largest revenue generator at 17% of total revenue, followed by Candelaria and Antapaccay. Cobre Panama is the only asset greater than 10% of revenue. The last chart highlights our operator diversity. Our largest exposure to revenue being generated by any one operator is 17%, which is First Quantum who operates Cobre Panama. Slide 10 illustrates the strength of our business model to generate high margins. For 2022, the cash cost per GEO, which is essentially cost of sales divided by gold equivalent ounces sold is $242 per GEO.

This compares to $245 per GEO in 2021. This amount will fluctuate depending on the mix of royalty versus stream GEOs, including mining and energy. But as you can see, at current average gold prices, the company generates significant margins. The margin was over $1,500 per ounce in 2022. In a rising commodity price environment, we expect to benefit fully as the cost per GEO sold should not increase significantly. We consider our cost structure to be essentially fixed. The other cost component of the company besides cost of sales is our corporate administration costs. The chart on Slide 11 highlights our quarterly revenues at quarterly corporate administration and share-based comp expenses since our IPO. As you can see, revenues have grown significantly over the period shown, while corporate costs have remained fairly stable.

For 2022 corporate administration, including share-based comp, was $32.6 million or less than 3% of revenue. We continue to believe we can add to our portfolio and grow our business without adding significant overhead to the company. As you can see on Slide 12, for 2023, we are guiding to lower total GEOs sold with the range being 640,000 to 700,000 GEOs sold. Of this total, we are guiding to 490,000 to 530,000 precious metal GEOs for the year. The balance would be GEOs from our diversified assets which we expect energy to account for about 70% for 2023. The overall main drivers for GEOs year-over-year are for precious metals. We do expect higher GEOs from Antapaccay, MWS, Tasiast and Musselwhite, where the NPI should be payable for the full year.

At Cobre Panama, we've guided for a range of 115,000 to 135,000 GEOs accounting for the recent production curtailment and timing of deliveries. We expect first deliveries from new mines Magino, Seguela and Salares Norte. We are anticipating that less mining will occur on our stream lands at Antamina and Candelaria and expect the Hemlo NPI to be less in 2023. Our guidance has been calculated using $1,800 per ounce for gold, $21 for silver, $900 platinum, $1,500 palladium and $120 per ton iron ore. Obviously, prices are volatile, and as they change, it will impact the conversion of non-gold commodities to GEOs. On the energy side, we're using $80 per barrel WTI and $3 Mcf natural gas. This provides a range of 105,000 to 225,000 GEOs from our energy assets.

As we look forward to 2027, we're proud of the built-in growth that the company already has in place. Our outlook for 2027 is 760,000 to 820,000 GEOs sold. Of this range, precious metals will be 565,000 to 605,000 GEOs. Main contributors will be Cobre Panama ramped up to 100 million tons per year. We will benefit from expansions at Stillwater, Detour and Tasiast. We're expecting a number of new mines to be in production by 2027, TZ, Greenstone, Valentine Gold, Stibnite and Eskay Creek. Also, we do expect McCreedy West and Sudbury to remain in production at 2022 levels until 2027. The initial step down in GEOs Candelaria will occur during this time frame in 2027. Also, it should be noted that Mine Waste Solutions will reach its cap at the end of 2024.

For diversified GEOs, we do expect an increase in GEOs from our Vale royalty as attributable production should increase with plant expansions. And for the energy assets, we've assumed a slight increase in production over the next 5 years resulting in a marginal increase in GEOs. Also, we've held energy prices flat at $80 a barrel WTI and $3 an Mcf natural gas for the period. Overall, when you look at the outlook for GEO sold, the company has over 18% built-in organic growth to 2027 at budgeted commodity prices. This assumes that no additional assets are added to the portfolio. Finally, Slide 13 summarizes the financial resources available to the company when including our credit facility of $1 billion, total available capital at December 31, 2022, is $2.2 billion.

And with that, I will pass it over to the operator, and we're happy to take your questions.

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