TORONTO, Ontario ABER DIAMOND CORP. is dipping into the financial markets to the tune of perhaps close to Cdn$300 million. First, the company has entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters co-led by CIBC World Markets and Scotia Capital to sell 1.5 million common shares on a bought deal basis for aggregate gross proceeds of Cdn$74.6 million. Aber has also entered into a commitment letter with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Bank of Nova Scotia for a US$100-million senior secured loan and a US$75-million senior secured revolving credit facility.
The company's net debt at Oct. 31, 2003 (the end of its third quarter), was US$222.9 million, including $215 million under its $230-million project loan facility. Its long-term debt, net of cash resources, was $115.6 million on the same date.
Aber intends to use the funds available from the new credit facilities and the net proceeds of the offering to refinance its existing project loan facility. In addition to improved economic terms, the new credit facilities will be subject to less restrictive covenants than the existing project loan facility, affording the company greater financial flexibility to pay dividends, and pursue strategic corporate initiatives.
Information about the proposed production increase from the Diavik diamond mine is posted at www.aber.ca.