First Quantum Minerals has overcome worst of liquidity problems, executives say

, Crisis

Over the past 12 months, First Quantum became the poster child for excess leverage in Canada’s copper mining sector.

TORONTO — The liquidity crisis at First Quantum Minerals Ltd. is largely over, company executives said Thursday, though there is still a lot of work required to improve the balance sheet.

“We’re in the middle of a process, but we’ve already done the hard part,” president Clive Newall said in an interview at the company’s annual meeting in Toronto.

Over the past 12 months, First Quantum became the poster child for excess leverage in Canada’s copper mining sector. Its stock price plunged nearly 70 per cent in 2015 as copper prices dropped, and its US$4.7-billion debt load became a serious problem. In February, First Quantum had to warn investors that there was “significant doubt” it could continue as a going concern because it was close to breaching a key debt covenant.

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