Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Mineral Royalty Owner Earnings ($DMLP $NRP $STR $RGLD $TPL $PREKF)

Dorchester Minerals, L.P.
The market capitalization of DMLP is now $1.11 billion (at $28 per unit) and the enterprise value is $1.08 billion. For the third quarter of 2023 (10-Q), the partnership earned $30 million of net income (compared with $34 million the prior year), generated $34 million of cash from operations (compared with $46 million the prior year), and distributed $26 million to unitholders. The CFO/EV yield is 12.6% based on the third quarter results, during which the average oil sales price was in the mid-$60s/bbl and the average natural gas sales price was around $2/mcf.

Yesterday, Dorchester announced that they had leased land in Reagan County, Texas for an $11.8 million bonus payment and a 25% royalty. That upfront payment amounts to $0.30 per unit, and the royalty payments will hopefully be substantial once the wells are drilled and go into production.

Natural Resource Partners L.P.
The market capitalization of NRP is now $872 million (at $69 per unit). The capital structure is complicated so it is worth discussing the assumptions that go into the enterprise value calculation. The partnership has $60 million of current assets (mostly cash and accounts receivable) and $52 million of current liabilities. We add back all deferred revenue including $6.4 million of the current portion which is a current liability. The partnership has $171 million of long term debt, $6.8 million of other long term liabilities.

After some significant repurchases of preferred stock and warrants during the quarter (see 1, 2, 3), there is now $72 million of preferred stock outstanding and warrants to buy 2.2 million shares. For our enterprise value calculation we use the difference between the current unit price and the warrants strike price of $34 to calculate a liability of $77 million. In the end it may cost more than this to settle them if the partnership unit price continues to appreciate.

That gives an enterprise value of $1.1 billion for the partnership. For the third quarter of 2023 (10-Q), free cash flow was $80 million. (For the trailing twelve months, it has been $304 million.) That gives a FCF/EV yield of 29% using this quarter's annualized number. 

There is a slide in the August 2023 investor presentation showing annual free cash flow figures since 2015. For the year 2016, which when the coal market crashed and most of the miners went bankrupt, NRP still had free cash flow of $76 million. If that were to happen again (a 75% decline from current level), the FCF/EV on the current valuation would be 6.9%.

Recently, the producers' cash cost per ton of met coal has been around $100 per ton, with Arch at $97/ton and Warrior at $114/ton. In 2016, the cash cost of met for Arch was only $53/t. With the producers' costs per ton having doubled since 2016, it ought to be difficult for the market-clearing price to drop as low as it did in 2016 (at least for a protracted length of time), and hence it ought to be difficult for free cash flow to drop that much again.

If coal prices and production levels as well as earnings from the Sisecam (soda ash/trona) minority interest hold up, and if the unit price stays the same, then the partnership might be able to pay off its remaining $312 million of net liabilities by the end of Q4 2024. Paying off liabilities is management's stated intention. (Q3 2023 call: "We continue to believe that aggressive retirement of debt, preferred equity and settlement of warrants, while maintaining common unit distributions is the right strategy to maximize long-term common unitholder value.")

If they achieve that deleveraging, then the current level of free cash flow (~$320 million annualized) would be a 37% shareholder yield on a $872 million market cap.

Sitio Royalties Corp.
The market capitalization of STR is now $3.7 billion (at $24 per share). Unlike many of the other oil & gas royalty investments, Sitio has a significant amount of debt: about $1 billion, consisting of $601 million on a revolving credit facility (floating interest rate, currently 8.42%) and $405 million of senior notes due 2026 (also floating rate, currently 11.29%). So the enterprise value is now $4.6 billion.

In the third quarter of 2023 (10-Q), Sitio earned only $275 thousand of net income, thanks to a $24 million hedging loss. If you add back $81 million of depreciation, depletion, and amortization for the quarter, you get an "adjusted-CFO" yield of 7% on the current enterprise value, or a 9% yield if you assume the hedging loss is "one time" and add that back too.

In addition to being highly leveraged (with expensive, floating rate debt), Sitio is the only royalty investment we follow that hedges. Sitio has a slide in their latest investor presentation that says "Sitio is able to drive down Cash G&A per boe with each large acquisition". It seems like their model is to use expensive debt to aggressively acquire properties and increase scale, and they then have to hedge the commodity price to reduce risk. Lots of moving parts, with the goal being to spread the overhead cost over more barrels.

Sitio reports their their G&A cost per BOE as $2.17 for this quarter. We might also look at it as $7.45 per barrel of crude oil. By comparison, Dorchester's G&A is $3 per BOE and only $4.57 per barrel of crude oil. Another way to look at it is that Sitio spent 7.6% of revenue on SG&A for the quarter and Dorchester spent 6.6%.

So, Dorchester is smaller yet operating more efficiently. Dorchester also managed not to bungle and blow the whole quarter's earnings with a hedging loss. The entire point (to us, at least) of owning royalties and the reason that they are first class assets is that you always make some money owning them. It may not be a lot some of the time, but you never lose money. Borrowing money at 11.3% and selling both puts and calls on commodity futures puts you in a position to lose money.

Royal Gold, Inc.
The market capitalization of RGLD (at $105 per share) is now $7.1 billion. They have $236 million of net liabilities (excluding deferred taxes) so the enterprise value is $7.3 billion. For the third quarter of 2023 (10-Q) they reported revenue of $139 million, operating cash flow of $98 million, and earnings of $49 million. The company is trading for 36x earnings (annualized) and an OCF/EV yield of 5.4%. 

Several developments negatively affected the quarter and made earnings and cash flows lower than they would have been. Newmont's Peñasquito mine in Mexico had a four month strike (although an agreement has been reached with the union), Centerra’s open pit Mount Milligan mine in British Columbia has also had some issues with ore quality resulting in guidance there being lowered, and there was also a delay to the ramp-up of Barrick’s expansion of its Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic. 

There is upside to Royal Gold if those mines' issues can get fixed, as well as upside from mines that have already been funded but which have not gone into production. Something mentioned on the conference call is that their cash G&A costs remain are 5% of total revenue, which compares very favorably with Sitio and even Dorchester, as we noted above.

Texas Pacific Land Corporation
The market capitalization of TPL (at $1,650 per share) is now $13.5 billion. The company has built up quite a cash pile during the shareholder activism dispute, so the current assets net of liabilities are $747 million and the enterprise value is $12.75 billion.

In the third quarter of 2023 (10-Q), Production volumes for TPL (in BOEs) were down 6.6% for Q3 2023 versus the prior year. Royalty revenue was down 33% because of the lower production volume as well as lower commodity prices. (The price of natural gas in particular was much lower than last summer. Revenue for easements and other surface-related income, land sales, water sales, and produced water royalties were all up year-over-year.

Expenses were $27 million (excluding depreciation) versus $25 million the prior year. Thankfully legal fees were only $1.7 million this quarter and not the gigantic $17 million we saw one quarter earlier this year during the heat of the shareholder activist battle.

Interesting to note that the expenses (again excluding depreciation) are a hefty 17% of total revenue. That's partly because TPL has established a "water services" business which is lower margin than collecting royalty revenue.

Operating income was $127 million for the quarter, and if you add back $3.6 million of depreciation, depletion, and amortization, you get a cash flow-like number of $131 million, which would be an annualized yield of 4% on the current enterprise value.

PrairieSky Royalty Ltd.
The market capitalization of PREKF (at US$17.80 per share for the U.S.ADR) is $4.25 billion and the enterprise value (with $195 million of net debt) is $4.4 billion.

For the third quarter of 2023 (MD&A), PrairieSky's net earnings were $40 million (compared with $55 million the prior year) and earnings plus DD&A were $67 million (compared with $83 million the prior year). That's a "cash generation" yield of 6% on the current enterprise value.

Royalty production volumes averaged 25,469 BOE per day, an increase of 8% over Q2 2023 and 2% over Q3 2022. Quarterly oil royalty production averaged 12,084 barrels per day, a 4% decrease from Q2 2023 and a 6% increase over Q3 2022. The average realized price for crude oil this quarter was $67.55/bbl compared with $75/bbl the prior year.

With the cash generated from operations this quarter, the company spent $11 million on property acquisitions, $42 million on dividends (4% dividend yield), and $4 million on debt repayment. One odd thing disclosed was a "$13.3 million termination payment related to a leadership change in the quarter".

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