URA 5.56% 1.7¢ uran limited

company response

  1. 1,147 Posts.
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    2 emails i receivd in the past fortnight, they cover a few of the questions that will hopefully be asked at the agm.

    never have i been this patient before, and after selling out of stocks like bmn, meo, avx, sto, nuf, aro ect I have become increasingly frustrated. Just wish Id never read that BRW interview article back in January on Kate Hobbs.

    However these emails shed a small amount of light on the situation at hand

    Thanks for your email of 31st October and I look forward to meeting you at the AGM. In the mean time I respond to the points in your email as follows:



    1. Apart from the options granted to certain directors at the 2006 AGM and thereby agreed to by shareholders, staff options were granted in the last fiscal year as follows:


















    Exercise

    Expiry
    Vesting

    Date
    Recipient

    No. Issued

    Price $

    Date
    Date












    Employee Share Option Plan



















    24-Aug-06
    J Cucvara


    1,000,000

    0.30

    31-Jul-10























    Employee Share Option Plan No. 2


















    18-Jan-07
    J Cucvara


    250,000

    0.40

    1-Jan-11
    1-Apr-07





    250,000

    0.60

    1-Jan-11
    1-Jan-08


    K R Farmer

    125,000

    0.40

    1-Jan-11
    1-Feb-07





    125,000

    0.60

    1-Jan-11
    1-Jan-08


    J Morrin


    62,500

    0.40

    1-Jan-11
    1-Feb-07





    62,500

    0.60

    1-Jan-11
    1-Jan-08




    Joe Cucvara is a key member of the company and the options were part of his contract. The options issued to Farmer and Morrin were committed to be granted at an earlier date when the share price was significantly lower. The board has a policy that options will only be granted in at least two tranches both at exercise prices realistically higher than the share price prevailing at the time of grant. The options under Plan 2 are dependent on the ongoing employment of the person, and therefore those to Ms Morrin and Mrs Farmer will lapse.



    2. The board is very cognisant of its disclosure obligations and endeavours to keep shareholders and the market in general informed. By my reckoning the company has issued on average 1 release a month since March this year on matters other than machinery (i.e. ASX Listing required announcements). If you are specifically referring to the SBS item, that organisation was following up a company release to the ASX and there were no issues disclosed that were not in the release. Generally I would add that because we are dealing with governments in acquiring uranium opportunities there are great sensitivities on their part on premature disclosure of discussions. The opportunities Uran is pursuing are not greenfields exploration rights but known resources held in the public sector. Privatisation is a sensitive issue particularly in the former eastern bloc. Not to respect these sensitivities would likely be fatal to the outcome of discussions and therefore not in the shareholders interests. The situation is as frustrating to the board and management as it must appear to shareholders. However we tolerate the frustration because the goal is so very worthwhile.



    3. The board and management are very aware that Uran is a public company and that we are responsible and answerable to the shareholders. If you have SPECIFIC reasons to question the company’s behaviour in this regard I will endeavour to respond.



    Anticipating your questions at the AGM I advise:



    As you recognise in your next question the Ukraine opportunities will require a feasibility study to more accurately determine the capital requirements for development. At this stage, and in very broad terms, we are anticipating capital requirements of US$25m.
    The basis on which PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will write the expert opinion on the Discovery acquisition will be determined by them and based on the extent of the material we can provide once the protocol with the Ukrainian government is signed. That protocol provides for the release of information to Uran as well as the commercial basis for the operation. PwC may be able to form a view prior to the full feasibility study’s conclusion. In view of the delay in finalising the protocol (on the part of the Ukraine government because of the political situation over the past months) I would note that it is unlikely that the EGM will be held in December.
    Whilst the secrecy provisions on the two deposits have (recently) been lifted) the details of the resource have not been released to the public or Uran. That information will be contained in the protocol. Uran will release that information at the earliest opportunity. I say this because much of the data from the old eastern bloc, while detailed and professional is not JORC compliant and Uran will need to review the requirements to make it so and therefore be permitted to announce it under the ASX rules.
    How Uran proposes to fund these projects will come from both the feasibility study and the final commercial terms agreed with the Ukraine government. In general terms I would expect to optimise project loans for the production phase to maximise leverage for shareholders. But that optimisation will need to recognise cost, risk and availability etc. Uran will certainly be looking to both ASX and AIM for any equity raisings.
    & 6 & 7. Kazakhstan has been focussing with foreign participants on large resources (50,000 – 200,000 tonnes of contained U ). Uran is not able to play in that league and in any case known resources in that category have already been allocated. The large resources require commensurately large capital investments, likely outside the capacity of the Kazakhstan government or local entrepreneurs. Uran believes that the smaller deposits are economical. Uran is quietly confident that it will be successful in its Kazakhstan initiative but, again, we are dealing with governmental/political processes, the timings for which are unpredictable. Neither ourselves nor our partners are eager at this stage to publicly identify opportunities or develop too public a profile for concern of being gazumped.
    Uran is still the preferred partner of record for Rozna. However the Czech government earlier this year announced that Rozna, with its own resources, would, by June, commence extending the resource body to keep the mine open. To date that does not appear to have happened. Uran enjoys cordial relations with Rozna and awaits further developments.
    Uran’s partner, Integra Group, in Uzbekistan has been disappointingly slow in following up the potential projects in that region. We understand that their focus has understandably been directed to their existing operations. Uran has preferred to concentrate on Ukraine and Czech Republic in the interim, but has not given up on Uzbekistan.
    Uran’s cash resources are more than sufficient to see it through the short and medium term including the feasibility study for Ukraine.
    Uran’s goals are to establish itself as a profitable miner of uranium assets not only in Eastern Europe but in other countries around the globe. In the short to medium term its goal is to commence profitable operations in the Ukraine and Czech Republic whilst identifying other opportunities, which like the opportunities in those countries, are based on explored resources. I believe these goals will be achieved.
    I personally am confident that Uran will have at least one established operation within 2008.
    The performance measure in 2007 has been to conclude negotiation of identified opportunities, there after the performance measures will be to increase shareholder value in the short and longer term. As far as 2007 it has been very frustrating not to have concluded at least one negotiation particularly when all the signs have been and are encouraging. Having recently met with the other parties in Ukraine and Czech Republic I am very aware of the good standing Uran has with those parties due in very great part to the constant and consistent representations of Uran by Kate Hobbs and Joe Cucvara. I am also aware of the governmental processes they have had to go through and the substantial progress they have made even if it is not yet publicly visible.
    In this respect I believe it is worthwhile noting that if Uran’s strategy had been the usual Greenfield prospecting route it would likely be several years (8 to 10 years on advice from experts) between commencement and start of production assuming an economical resource is identified. Uran’s strategy of gaining access to known reserves currently in the public sector shortens this timeframe and minimises the exploration risk. The downside is the comparative slowness of dealing with government instrumentalities (a phenomenon not confined to the ex soviet bloc). I would wish the process were shorter but in my view it is preferable to the traditional route.

    The “protocol” negotiated by Discovery with the Ukraine government is what we would understand as a MOU. Essentially is an agreement for the parties to proceed to a commercial agreement on a “JV”. Whilst we do not have “official” details of the resources (which will be contained in the second protocol, which we await) we do have “unofficial” information, which is sufficiently encouraging for Uran to continue to pursue the opportunity.
    The negotiations are being done in the name of Uran, but on the (internal) understanding that Discovery has the “rights” until (and if) the acquisition of Discovery is consummated. The commerciality of the negotiations clearly has to take into account the value to Uran after the consummation of the Discovery acquisition. This is recognised by both Kate and the board. When the Discovery option was negotiated in 2006 it was (I understand, because I was not involved with the company at that time) the honest expectations of both parties that the Czech and/or Ukraine opportunities would be realised within a reasonably short time. This has not turned out to be the case and Uran has funded the expense of pursuing the negotiations. For this reason the Board of Uran is currently in discussions with Discovery (which acknowledges the fact) to amend the agreement to recognise this. At a general level I would say that Kate is very aware of her position as the CEO of Uran and as a major shareholder in both Uran and Discovery – as are the other directors of Uran. For that reason she takes no part in discussions between the two parties and is very keen to develop opportunities for Uran outside Discovery.
    Kate has and is looking at/for opportunities for Uran outside the Discovery option. Having invested so much time and effort in the Ukraine and Czech Republic (and recognising the potential value of those opportunities) the board has assigned them first priority.
    The major shareholders in Discovery are Kate Hobbs, David Millar, Jack Toby, Jo Cucvara and Timex (a Czech geological firm).
    Once feasibility studies are complete and satisfactory I am advised that, all things being equal, mining should commence within twelve months.



 
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