Wheaton Precious Metals — Celebrating the Ides of March

Wheaton Precious Metals (TSX: WPM)

Last close As at 22/05/2024

CAD78.92

1.33 (1.71%)

Market capitalisation

CAD34,484m

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Research: Metals & Mining

Wheaton Precious Metals — Celebrating the Ides of March

Wheaton’s (WPM’s) Q4/FY23 results were released after the market close on 14 March, within the context of known metals sales and almost known production. Even so, net earnings were US$2.9m (or 1.8%) better than our prior forecast for the quarter, largely as a result of achieved metals prices that were higher than average market prices. Otherwise, the quarter was characterised by accelerated levels of investment into underlying mineral streams and the announcement of a new, progressive dividend policy.

Lord Ashbourne

Written by

Lord Ashbourne

Director of Content, Mining

Metals & Mining

Wheaton Precious Metals

Celebrating the Ides of March

Q4/FY23 results and new, progressive dividend policy

Metals and mining

18 March 2024

Price

C$60.93

Market cap

C$27,606m

C$1.3539/US$, US$1.2750/£

Cash (US$m) at end-December
(excluding US$6.2m in lease liabilities)

546.5

Shares in issue

453.0m

Free float

100.0%

Code

WPM

Primary exchange

TSX

Secondary exchanges

LSE, NYSE

Share price performance

%

1m

3m

12m

Abs

0.7

(7.9)

(0.6)

Rel (local)

(2.2)

(13.5)

(11.9)

52-week high/low

C$69.72

C$52.92

Business description

Wheaton Precious Metals is the world’s pre-eminent ostensibly precious metals streaming company, with 44 high-quality precious metals’ streaming and royalty agreements over mines in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Chile, USA, Argentina, Peru, Sweden, Greece, Portugal, Colombia etc.

Next events

Ex-dividend date

2 April 2024

Q124 results

9 May 2024

Q224 results

8 August 2024

Q324 results

7 November 2024

Analyst

Lord Ashbourne

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Wheaton Precious Metals is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

Wheaton’s (WPM’s) Q4/FY23 results were released after the market close on 14 March, within the context of known metals sales and almost known production. Even so, net earnings were US$2.9m (or 1.8%) better than our prior forecast for the quarter, largely as a result of achieved metals prices that were higher than average market prices. Otherwise, the quarter was characterised by accelerated levels of investment into underlying mineral streams and the announcement of a new, progressive dividend policy.

Year end

Revenue
(US$m)

PBT*
(US$m)

EPS*
(c)

DPS
(c)

P/E
(x)

Yield
(%)

12/22

1,065.1

505.4

112

60

40.2

1.3

12/23

1,016.0

533.4

118

60

38.1

1.3

12/24e

1,190.8

636.9

118

62

38.2

1.4

12/25e

1,538.5

748.3

142

71

31.6

1.6

Note: *PBT and EPS are normalised, excluding amortisation of acquired intangibles and exceptional items.

FY24 guidance probably conservative

The midpoint of WPM’s production guidance for FY24 is 7.1% below the midpoint of its guidance for FY23 (585koz cf 630koz gold equivalent ounces (GEOs)) and 5.7% below its FY23 outcome of 620koz. We believe this is distinctly conservative and only realisable in the event of a rapid decline in production from Salobo in Q1 and Q224, which seems at odds with near-record production of gold and copper in Q423. As a result, our production expectations are towards the top of the guidance range for FY24 at 613.9koz GEOs and we have adjusted our financial forecasts for FY24 higher to reflect recent moves in precious metals prices. Notwithstanding the imposition of GMT from Q224, we expect EPS to be approximately flat in FY24 compared to FY23. Moreover, we still expect production to be within 20koz of 900koz GEOs by FY29. In the meantime, the total mineral endowment attributable to Wheaton as at end-FY23 increased by 4.4Moz GEOs, or 10.6%, to 45.9Moz GEOs cf end-FY22.

Valuation: Steady on conservative assumptions

Using a capital asset pricing model (CAPM) type method, whereby we discount cash flows at a nominal 9% per year, our ‘terminal’ valuation of WPM in FY26 has increased fractionally, to US$52.96 (C$71.70) per share, assuming zero subsequent long-term growth in real cash flows (which we think is unlikely). If we instead assume 7.4% pa long-term growth in cash flows however (ie the average compound annual growth rate in the price of gold from 1967 to 2023), our valuation of WPM increases manyfold to US$174.25/share, or C$235.92/share. As such, Wheaton’s current share price appears to be discounting future compound annual average increases in cash flows per share only very fractionally in excess of the long-term average rate of inflation (4.2% cf 4.0%). Alternatively, assuming no purchases of additional streams, we calculate a value per share for WPM of US$49.28 or C$66.72 or £38.65 in FY26, based on an historical multiple of 30.8x contemporary earnings. As such, we conclude that the market has not yet discounted the company’s expectations of increasing its production from c 550–620koz GEO in FY24 to more than 850koz GEO by FY29 (all other things being equal).

Q4/FY23 results

Wheaton’s Q4/FY23 results were released after the market close on 14 March, within the context of known metals sales during the periods under review and almost known production (given that the latter can be subject to small retrospective adjustments). In the event however, results were slightly in excess of our forecasts, which were already towards the top end of the analysts’ range. One notable feature of the results was achieved metals prices that were above those prevailing in the market in Q4, which resulted in sales 2.3% (or US$7.2m) in excess of our forecast. This was partly offset by depletion that was US$4.6m higher. At the same time, general and administrative costs were US$3.2m below our prior forecast, approximately offsetting a negative variance in ‘other’ income (mostly interest earned) of US$3.1m. These effects combined to result in a US$2.7m positive variance in earnings before tax and a US$2.9m (or 1.8%) positive variance in net earnings relative to our prior expectations.

Exhibit 1: WPM Q423 and FY23 actual cf prior forecasts*

US$000s
(unless otherwise stated)

Q422

Q123

Q223

Q323

Q423e

Q423

****Change
(%)

*****Variance

(%)

FY23

FY23e

Silver production (koz)

5,352

4,927

4,417

3,363

4,513

4,208

25.1

-6.8

17,176

17,220

Gold production (oz)

70,099

73,037

85,083

105,436

111,029

113,359

7.5

2.1

374,585

374,585

Palladium production (oz)

3,869

3,705

3,880

4,006

4,209

4,209

5.1

0.0

15,800

15,800

Cobalt production (klb)

128

124

152

183

214

215

17.5

0.5

673

673

Silver sales (koz)

4,935

3,749

4,437

2,965

3,175

3,175

7.1

0.0

14,326

14,326

Gold sales (oz)

68,996

62,605

75,294

74,426

115,011

115,011

54.5

0.0

327,336

327,336

Palladium sales (oz)

3,396

2,946

3,392

4,242

3,339

3,339

-21.3

0.0

13,919

13,919

Cobalt sales (klb)

187

323

265

198

288

288

45.5

0.0

1,074

1,074

Average realised Ag price (US$/oz)

21.52

22.85

24.13

23.73

23.24

23.77

0.2

2.3

23.64

23.52

Average realised Au price (US$/oz)

1,725

1,904

1,986

1,944

1,953

2,006

3.2

2.7

1,968

1,949

Average realised Pd price (US$/oz)

1,939

1,607

1,438

1,251

1,093

1,070

-14.5

-2.1

1,329

1,334

Average realised Co price (US$/lb)

22.62

15.04

13.23

13.87

14.77

12.92

-6.8

-12.5

13.81

14.30

Average Ag cash cost (US$/oz)

5.00

5.07

5.01

5.10

5.09

5.02

-1.6

-1.4

5.05

5.06

Average Au cash cost (US$/oz)

475

496

461

444

437

437

-1.6

0.0

455

455

Average Pd cash cost (US$/oz)

357

294

261

223

197

198

-11.2

0.5

241

241

Average Co cash cost (US$/lb)***

16.52

3.30

3.20

2.66

2.66

3.14

18.0

18.0

3.30

3.17

Sales

236,051

214,465

264,972

223,137

306,299

313,471

40.5

2.3

1,016,045

1,008,873

Cost of sales

Cost of sales, excluding depletion

61,730

51,964

58,642

49,808

67,818

67,757

36.0

-0.1

228,171

228,231

Depletion

53,140

45,000

54,474

46,435

63,877

68,525

47.6

7.3

214,434

209,786

Total cost of sales

114,870

96,964

113,116

96,243

131,694

136,282

41.6

3.5

442,605

438,017

Earnings from operations

121,181

117,501

151,856

126,894

174,605

177,189

39.6

1.5

573,440

570,855

Expenses and other income

– General and administrative**

19,773

18,874

16,640

14,678

21,165

17,978

22.5

-15.1

68,170

71,357

– Foreign exchange (gain)/loss

0

0

– Interest paid/(received)

1,377

1,378

1,352

1,407

1,454

1,373

-2.4

-5.6

5,510

5,591

– Other (income)/expense

(3,935)

(7,387)

(8,811)

(10,688)

(9,901)

(6,772)

-36.6

-31.6

(33,658)

(36,787)

Total expenses and other income

17,215

12,865

9,182

5,397

12,718

12,579

133.1

-1.1

40,022

40,161

Earnings before income taxes

103,966

104,636

142,675

121,497

161,887

164,610

35.5

1.7

533,418

530,694

Income tax expense/(recovery)

222

205

91

30

250

41

36.7

-83.6

367

576

Marginal tax rate (%)

0.2

0.2

0.1

0.0

0.2

0.0

N/A

-100.0

0.1

0.1

Net earnings

103,744

104,431

142,584

121,467

161,637

164,569

35.5

1.8

533,051

530,118

Average no. shares in issue (000s)

452,070

452,370

452,892

452,975

452,996

453,010

0.0

0.0

452,814

452,808

Basic EPS (US$)

0.229

0.231

0.315

0.268

0.357

0.363

35.4

1.7

1.177

1.17

Diluted EPS (US$)

0.229

0.230

0.314

0.268

0.356

0.363

35.4

2.0

1.176

1.17

DPS (US$)

0.15

0.15

0.15

0.15

0.15

0.15

0.0

0.0

0.60

0.60

Source: Wheaton Precious Metals, Edison Investment Research. Note: *Excluding impairments, impairment reversals and exceptional items (unless otherwise indicated). **Forecasts include stock-based compensation costs. ***Cobalt inventory is held on WPM’s balance sheet at the lower of cost and net realisable value; cash costs per pound of cobalt sold are therefore affected by changes in the valuation of inventory quarterly. ****Change is Q423 cf Q323. *****Variance is Q423 cf Q423e. Totals may not add up owing to rounding.

As a consequence, Wheaton’s actual EPS were 1.7% above our expectations and 10.0% above the market consensus:

Exhibit 2: WPM Q423 and FY23 prior EPS forecasts compared to actual (US$/share)

Q123

Q223

Q323

Q423e

Q423

Variance

(%)

FY23

FY23e

Variance

(%)

Edison forecasts

0.231

0.315

0.268

0.357

0.363

+1.7

1.177

1.17

+0.6

Mean consensus

0.231

0.315

0.268

0.330

0.363

+10.0

1.177

1.14

+3.2

High consensus

0.231

0.315

0.268

0.380

0.363

-4.4

1.177

1.24

-5.1

Low consensus

0.231

0.315

0.268

0.290

0.363

+25.2

1.177

1.10

+7.0

Source: Refinitiv, Edison Investment Research. Note: As at 14 March 2024.

At the level of the individual mines, Constancia, Stillwater, Marmato, Antamina and Neves-Corvo notably outperformed our prior expectations, while San Dimas (unusually), Penasquito, Los Filos, Zinkgruvan and Cozamin slightly underperformed.

Similarly, although Salobo’s performance in terms of gold produced attributable to Wheaton was hugely improved (and near record levels) by the successful ramp-up of the Salobo III expansion project (see Exhibit 4), it slightly underperformed our expectations, given the amount of copper that it produced during the period (Exhibit 3).

Exhibit 3: Salobo copper production versus gold production attributable to WPM, Q316–Q423

Exhibit 4: Gold production attributable to WPM from Salobo, Q412–Q424e

Source: Wheaton Precious Metals, Edison Investment Research

Source: Wheaton Precious Metals, Vale, Edison Investment Research

Exhibit 3: Salobo copper production versus gold production attributable to WPM, Q316–Q423

Source: Wheaton Precious Metals, Edison Investment Research

Exhibit 4: Gold production attributable to WPM from Salobo, Q412–Q424e

Source: Wheaton Precious Metals, Vale, Edison Investment Research

Also shown in Exhibit 4 is our forecast quarterly production of gold attributable to WPM from Salobo in FY24 in the light of the company’s guidance.

Ounces produced but not yet delivered

As expected, silver sales were 1.0Moz, or 24.5%, below production, which compares with a long-term average under-sales rate of 11.8% of production per quarter (±11.0%) and our prior expectation of a 1.3Moz, or 29.7%, under-sale. By contrast, gold sales were 1,652oz, or 1.5%, in excess of production, which compares with a long-term average rate of under-sales of 7.3% of production per quarter (±17.6%) and our prior expectation that sales and production would be aligned. As also expected, the over-sale could be attributed to Salobo after a material shortfall in Q3 when sales lagged the ramp-up of Salobo III.

Exhibit 5: Over/(under) sale of silver and gold as a percentage of production, Q112–Q423

Source: Edison Investment Research, Wheaton Precious Metals. Note: As reported.

As a result, silver ounces produced but not yet delivered to Wheaton (PBND) increased to 1.8Moz, although this was less than our prior estimate of 2.4Moz, and equated to 1.29 months of FY23 production (cf 1.68 months predicted). By contrast, gold ounces produced but not yet delivered decreased fractionally, to 99,767oz (cf 95,941oz predicted), or 3.18 months of FY23 production. Note that these compare with WPM’s target levels of two to three months for gold and palladium production and two months for silver production:

Exhibit 6: WPM ounces produced but not yet delivered, Q316–Q423 (months of production)

Source: Edison Investment Research, Wheaton Precious Metals. Note: As reported.

General and administrative expenses

At the time of its Q422 results, WPM provided guidance for non-stock general and administrative (G&A) expenses of US$47–50m, or US$11.75–12.50m per quarter, for FY23 (cf US$47–49m in FY22, US$42–44m in FY21 and US$40–43m in FY20), including all employee-related expenses, charitable contributions, etc, but excluding performance share units (PSU) and equity settled stock-based compensation.

Given WPM’s share price movement during the fourth quarter, in our last note, we forecast that its total G&A charge for WPM in Q423 would have been US$21.2m, of which 59% would have been attributable to non-stock-based G&A expenses and 41% to stock-based expenses. In the event, non-stock based G&A expenses were less than that implied by guidance and stock-based G&A expenses were US$2.1m below our forecast (albeit still within the US$2.5m error of estimation implied by the regression analysis between the two – see Exhibit 8, below), leading to a US$3.2m saving in total G&A expenses for the quarter relative to our prior expectations.

Exhibit 7: WPM general and administrative expenses, Q421–Q423 (US$000s)

Item

Q122

Q222

Q322

Q422

FY22

Q123

Q223

Q323

Q423e

Q423

G&A salaries excluding PSU and equity settled stock-based compensation

5,345

5,061

4,629

4,187

19,222

5,021

4,749

4,591

4,051

Other (inc. depreciation, donations and professional fees)

4,871

5,784

5,137

7,112

22,905

6,456

7,407

5,751

7,401

Non-stock based G&A

10,216

10,845

9,766

11,299

42,127

11,477

12,156

10,342

12,500

11,452

Guidance

11,750–12,250

11,750–12,250

11,750–12,250

11,750–12,250

47,000–49,000

11,750–12,500

11,750–12,500

11,750–12,500

11,750–12,500

PSU accrual

8,560

110

(1,491)

7,035

14,214

5,855

2,625

2,604

5,222

Equity settled stock-based compensation

1,342

1,498

1,568

1,439

5,846

1,542

1,859

1,732

1,305

Stock-based G&A

9,902

1,608

77

8,474

20,060

7,397

4,484

4,336

8,665

6,527

Total general & administrative

20,118

12,453

9,843

19,773

62,187

18,874

16,640

14,678

21,165

17,979

Non-stock as pct of total G&A (%)

50.8

87.1

99.2

57.1

67.7

60.8

73.1

70.5

59.1

63.7

Source: Wheaton Precious Metals, Edison Investment Research. Note: Totals may not add up owing to rounding.

As at the end of Q423, the analysis of stock-based G&A expenses relative to the change in WPM’s share price (also in US dollars) over the previous 17 quarters continued to exhibit a close Pearson product moment (correlation) coefficient between the two of 0.77, which can be said to be statistically significant at the 5% level for a directional hypothesis (ie there is less than a 5% probability that this relationship occurred by random chance).

Exhibit 8: Graph of historical share price change (US$/share) versus stock-based G&A expenses (US$000s), quarterly, Q419–Q423

Source: Edison Investment Research (underlying data: Bloomberg and Wheaton Precious Metals)


FY24 and future guidance

At the same time as updating the market for its actual sales and production in FY23, on 20 February, WPM took the opportunity to provide detailed production guidance for FY24 and beyond, which is summarised below relative to guidance and the actual outcome in FY23 and our production forecast, similarly, for FY24 and beyond:

Exhibit 9: WPM precious metals production – Edison forecasts compared to guidance

FY23

FY24e

FY28e
(target)*

FY29–33
(average)*

Current Edison forecast

Silver production (Moz)

17.2

20.0

Gold production (koz)

374.6

370.0

Cobalt production (klb)

673

856

Palladium production (koz)

15.8

16.8

Gold equivalent (koz)

620.2

613.9

806

835

WPM guidance

Silver production (Moz)

20.0–22.0

18.5–20.5

Gold production (koz)

320–350

325–370

Cobalt & palladium production (koz AuE)

22–25

12–15

Gold equivalent (koz)

600–660

550–620

>800

>850

Source: Wheaton Precious Metals, Edison Investment Research forecasts. Note: *Edison forecasts include Rosemont/Copper World from FY27 and Antamina extension from FY28.

The main change in our longer-term forecasts, relative to our last note, has been to assume the start of production at Curipamba in FY26, compared to FY25 previously.

In the meantime, in 2024, WPM forecasts GEO production to be consistent with levels achieved in 2023, as expected stronger attributable production from Peñasquito and Voisey’s Bay is forecast to be offset by lower production from Salobo, the suspension of operations at Minto and the temporary halting of production at Aljustrel. Attributable production is forecast to increase at Peñasquito as a result of uninterrupted operations and at Voisey’s Bay owing to the transition from the Ovoid pit to the underground mines. Attributable production is forecast to decrease slightly at Salobo owing to lower grades, which are expected to be partially offset by increasing throughput as the Salobo III expansion project continues towards completion. However, we note that, for WPM to not exceed its gold production guidance at least, quarterly production at Salobo will have to fall quite sharply into Q124 and Q224 (see Exhibit 4). In the meantime, WPM anticipates that production from the Blackwater and Platreef projects will commence in Q424, although we have yet to assume any production from either of these projects in FY25, instead preferring to factor in meaningful production only from Q125. As such, we consider the ‘risks’ to WPM’s FY24 guidance to be very much skewed to the upside.

WPM’s updated guidance for FY24 and beyond is based on standardised pricing assumptions of US$2,000/oz gold (cf US$1,850/oz in FY23), US$23.00/oz silver (cf US$24.00/oz), US$1,000/oz palladium (cf US$1,800/oz), US$1,000/oz platinum (cf US$1,100/oz) and US$13.00/lb cobalt (cf US$18.75/lb). Of note is the implied gold/silver ratio of 87.0x, which compares with an equivalent figure of 83.0x in FY23, the current ratio of 86.7x (after a notably more significant move in the silver price than in the gold price over the course of the past week), but a longer-term average of 60.1x (since gold was demonetised in August 1971). At the updated standardised prices indicated, our production forecast of 613.9koz gold equivalent (AuE) for FY24 is towards the top end of WPM’s guidance range of 550–620koz AuE, although our gold equivalent sales forecast of 566.1koz is towards the bottom end of the same range (see Exhibit 10).

Otherwise, readers will note that our longer-term production forecasts are within 1.8% of WPM’s guidance for the period FY29–33. However, at the moment, these exclude any contribution from either Kutcho or Fenix (together capable of adding c 29k GEOs to production) or Toroparu or WPM’s royalty interests. Note that both our, and WPM’s, estimates necessarily exclude potential future stream acquisitions (of which we expect there to be a number, given the time horizon involved).

FY24 guidance and forecasts

In the light of Q423 results, we have updated our FY24 forecasts to those shown in Exhibit 10. Relative to our earlier numbers, the main changes in our estimates reflect updated metals prices, a higher depletion charge and lower ‘other’ income to reflect less interest earned on lower cash balances throughout the year, owing to higher than previously forecast levels of investment during the year. As before, we also assume the imposition of global minimum tax (GMT – see our last note, dated 11 March 2024) from Q224. In line with its announcement, we have also assumed a higher quarterly dividend throughout the year, to reflect WPM’s new, progressive dividend policy.

Exhibit 10: WPM FY24e forecast, by quarter*

US$000s
(unless otherwise stated)

Q124e

Q224e

Q324e

Q424e

FY24e
(current)

FY24e

(prior)

Change
(%)

Silver production (koz)

4,690

5,097

5,099

5,102

19,990

19,990

0.0

Gold production (oz)

95,932

91,641

90,386

92,041

370,000

370,000

0.0

Palladium production (oz)

4.209

4.209

4.209

4.209

16,835

16,835

0.0

Cobalt production (klb)

214

214

214

214

856

856

0.0

 

 

Silver sales (koz)

3,985

4,344

4,346

4,993

17,667

17,667

0.0

Gold sales (oz)

88,899

84,921

83,759

92,020

349,599

349,599

0.0

Palladium sales (oz)

3.786

3.786

3.786

4.192

15,551

15,551

0.0

Cobalt sales (klb)

214

214

214

214

856

856

0.0

 

Avg realised Ag price (US$/oz)

23.42

24.96

24.96

24.96

24.61

22.62

8.8

Avg realised Au price (US$/oz)

2,038

2,100

2,100

2,100

2,084

2,031

2.6

Avg realised Pd price (US$/oz)

976

1,062

1,062

1,062

1,041

962

8.2

Avg realised Co price (US$/lb)

13.06

12.95

12.95

12.95

12.98

12.98

0.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avg Ag cash cost (US$/oz)

4.86

4.90

4.90

4.91

4.90

4.87

0.6

Avg Au cash cost (US$/oz)

443

444

446

445

445

444

0.1

Avg Pd cash cost (US$/oz)

176

191

191

191

187

173

8.3

Avg Co cash cost (US$/lb)

2.35

2.33

2.33

2.33

2.34

2.34

-0.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sales

281,005

293,549

291,152

325,085

1,190,791

1,135,903

4.8

Cost of sales

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of sales, excluding depletion

59,943

60,255

59,855

66,815

246,868

246,064

0.3

Depletion

61,585

61,516

60,086

67,830

251,017

235,964

6.4

Total cost of sales

121,527

121,771

119,942

134,645

497,885

482,028

3.3

Earnings from operations

159,477

171,778

171,210

190,440

692,905

653,875

6.0

Expenses and other income

 

 

 

 

 

 

– General and administrative**

16,240

17,951

17,951

17,951

70,093

70,280

-0.3

– Foreign exchange (gain)/loss

0

0

0

0

0

0

N/A

– Net interest paid/(received)

1,378

1,378

1,378

1,378

5,510

5,591

-1.4

– Other (income)/expense

(6,471)

(6,318)

(4,014)

(2,790)

(19,592)

(33,592)

-41.7

Total expenses and other income

11,146

13,011

15,315

16,539

56,011

42,280

32.5

Earnings before income taxes

148,331

158,767

155,895

173,901

636,894

611,595

4.1

Income tax expense/(recovery)

84

49,543

25,306

27,857

102,790

99,428

3.4

Marginal tax rate (%)

0.1

31.2

16.2

16.0

16.1

16

-0.7

Net earnings

148,247

109,224

130,589

146,044

534,104

512,167

4.3

Average no. shares in issue (000s)

453,010

453,069

453,069

453,069

453,069

452,996

0.0

Basic EPS (US$)

0.327

0.241

0.288

0.322

1.179

1.131

4.2

Diluted EPS (US$)

0.327

0.241

0.288

0.322

1.177

1.127

4.5

DPS (US$)

0.155

0.155

0.155

0.155

0.620

0.60

3.3

Source: Wheaton Precious Metals, Edison Investment Research. Note: *Excluding impairments, impairment reversals and exceptional items (except where indicated). **Forecasts include stock-based compensation costs. Totals may not add up owing to rounding.

Our updated adjusted basic EPS forecast of US$1.179 per share for FY24 is nevertheless near to consensus, as shown below:

Exhibit 11: WPM FY24 consensus EPS forecasts (US$/share), by quarter

Q124e

Q224e

Q324e

Q424e

Sum Q1–Q424e

FY24e

Edison forecasts

0.327

0.241

0.288

0.322

1.178

1.179

Mean consensus

0.250

0.250

0.270

0.280

1.05

1.15

High consensus

0.300

0.320

0.340

0.350

1.31

1.48

Low consensus

0.210

0.150

0.200

0.230

0.79

0.80

Source: Refinitiv, Edison Investment Research. Note: At 14 March 2024.

Valuation

Absolute

WPM is a multi-asset company that has shown a willingness and desire to buy streams in the past to maintain production and maximise shareholder returns. As a result, rather than our customary method of discounting maximum potential dividends over the life of operations back to FY24, in the case of WPM (as with Newmont and Endeavour), we discount forecast cash flows back over three years to the start of FY24 and then apply an ex-growth terminal multiple to forecast cash flows in that year (ie FY26) based on the appropriate discount rate.

Relative to our previous note published on 11 March 2024, our estimate of WPM’s ‘terminal’ cash flow in FY26 remains, to all intents and purposes, unchanged at US$2.54 per share.

Exhibit 12: WPM operational cash flow and related valuation (US$/share), FY24–26

Source: Edison Investment Research. Note: Valuation line assumes cash flow per share growth rate of 4% pa post-FY26 in nominal terms, which equals the average US rate of CPI inflation since 1972 (ie 0% pa growth in real terms).

Assuming 4% growth in nominal cash flows beyond FY26 (ie 0% growth in real cash flows) and applying a discount rate of 9% (being the expected long-term required nominal equity return), our ‘terminal’ valuation of the company at end-FY26 is US$52.96 per share (cf US$52.72/share previously), or C$71.70 per share. However, it should be noted that this valuation is inherently conservative in that it assumes zero growth in (real) cash flows beyond FY26. This is inconsistent with the gold price, which has risen at a compound average annual growth rate of 7.4% per year from 1967 to 2023, a simple average annual growth rate of 9.3% per year (cf a compound average inflation rate over the same period of 4.0%) and a compound average real annual growth rate of 3.0% per year.

Exhibit 13: Gold price annual performance, 1968–2023

Source: Edison Investment Research (underlying data: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bloomberg, South African Chamber of Mines)

It is also inconsistent with WPM’s longer-term historical performance, wherein operational cash flows have increased at a compound average annual growth rate of 19.6% pa for the 18 years between FY05 and FY23, while its operational cash flows per share have increased at a compound average annual growth rate of 13.2% pa.

If we instead assume that cash flows per share increase at a compound average annual growth rate 7.4% (ie the average compound average annual growth rate in the gold price from 1967 to 2023 cf 4.0% above), then our valuation of Wheaton increases many times to US$174.25/share, or C$235.92/share.

Stated alternatively, Wheaton’s current share price – discounted back to FY24 – appears to be discounting future compound annual average increases in cash flow per share only very fractionally higher than the long-term average rate of inflation (4.2% cf 4.0%).

Historical

Excluding FY04 (part-year), WPM’s shares have historically traded on an average P/E multiple of 30.8x current year basic underlying EPS, excluding impairments (cf 38.2x Edison and 39.2x Refinitiv consensus FY24e currently – see Exhibit 15).

Exhibit 14: WPM’s average historical current year P/E multiples, 2005–23

Source: average share price data Bloomberg, Edison Investment Research calculations

Applying this 30.8x multiple to our unchanged EPS forecast of US$1.60 in FY26 implies a potential value per share for WPM of US$49.28 or C$66.72 in that year.

Relative

From a relative perspective, WPM’s valuation compares as follows to its most prominent peers:

Exhibit 15: WPM comparative valuation versus a sample of operating and royalty/streaming companies

P/E (x)

Yield (%)

P/CF (x)

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Royalty companies

Franco-Nevada

38.2

30.2

31.9

1.2

1.2

1.3

26.0

22.2

23.5

Royal Gold

28.0

23.8

20.9

1.4

1.5

1.5

16.3

13.9

13.4

Sandstorm Gold

69.7

34.8

42.4

1.2

1.2

N/A

15.0

12.5

16.1

Osisko

39.0

31.6

30.2

1.0

1.0

0.9

22.1

19.3

17.8

Average

43.7

30.1

31.3

1.2

1.2

0.9

19.8

17.0

17.7

WPM (Edison forecasts)

38.2

31.6

28.1

1.4

1.6

1.7

23.0

18.0

17.7

WPM (consensus)

39.2

35.2

37.8

1.1

1.2

1.3

26.0

23.6

23.3

Source: Refinitiv, Edison Investment Research. Note: Peers priced on 14 March 2024, WPM (consensus) on 15 March 2024.

Of note are the relatively slow pace of earnings and cash flow increases implied by the market’s consensus multiples between years one and three (ie FY24 and FY26) when we anticipate that the company will have begun an aggressive upward trajectory in both GEOs produced and EPS and cash flows per share. This could be explained either by the market’s anticipating a slower ramp-up in production or that the ramp-up will be partially offset by lower metals prices. Also of note is the market’s lower forecast yields for WPM in all years, which seems to imply that it believes that WPM will cut its dividend – a contingency that we would regard as highly unlikely, given its new, progressive dividend policy, except in extenuating circumstances (eg materially lower precious metals prices). As a result, Wheaton is cheaper than its peers on 23 out of 36 common valuation measurements (63%) if Edison forecasts are used, or eight out of 36 of the same valuation measurements (22%) if consensus forecasts are used.

Financials: End-Q4 US$1.19/share in net cash

As at 31 December, WPM had US$546.5m in cash on its balance sheet and no debt outstanding under its US$2bn revolving credit facility. As such (including a modest US$6.2m in lease liabilities), it had US$540.3m in net cash overall after generating US$242.2m in operating cash flow, investing US$464.2m (cf US$98.9m in Q323) and paying out US$67.0m in dividends during the quarter. Relative to our prior expectations therefore, operating cash flows were higher, but the final cash, and net cash, balance was lower – principally on account of earlier than expected payments for mineral stream interests (notably Curraghinalt), as well as an expected US$370m instalment to Vale in respect of Salobo III’s successfully concluded completion test during the quarter.

Exhibit 16: WPM cash, net cash and operating cash flow, by quarter, Q420–Q423

(US$m)

Q420

Q121

Q221

Q321

Q421

Q122

Q222

Q322

Q422

Q123

Q223

Q323

Q423e

Q423

Cash/(debt)

192.7

191.2

235.4

372.5

226.0

376.2

448.6

494.6

696.1

799.7

828.8

833.9

598.5

546.5

Net cash/(debt)

6.0

187.7

232.1

369.4

223.2

373.5

446.2

492.5

694.1

797.9

822.3

827.7

592.3

540.3

Operating cash flow

208.0

232.2

216.3

201.3

195.3

210.5

206.4

154.5

172.0

135.1

202.4

171.1

*225.5

242.2

Source: Wheaton Precious Metals, Edison Investment Research. Note: *Before working capital.

In addition, WPM had long-term investments, in the form of equity share- and warrant-holdings, in listed companies in the sum of US$246.7m as at end-December (cf US$200.9m as at end-September), equivalent to US$0.54/share.

For FY23, WPM generated US$750.8m from operating activities (cf US$754.4m forecast), before consuming US$646.6m in investing activities (cf US$584.5m forecast) and paying out US$265.1m in forecast dividends, with the variance in investing activities, in particular, principally attributable to accelerated payments for mineral stream interests.

In FY24, we estimate that WPM will generate US$887.4m from operating activities, before consuming US$890.6m in investing activities (cf US$843.8m previously – owing to the further acceleration of payments relating to the accelerated development of underlying projects) and paying out an increased US$280.9m in dividends under the influence of WPM’s new, progressive dividend policy. However, readers should note that the timing of precious metals purchase agreement payments is uncertain and, inasmuch as investments are advanced or delayed, it is possible that WPM could register either a larger or smaller net cash position on its balance sheet by the year end than that forecast. In any event however, all other things being equal, in the absence of any major new asset acquisitions, we do not expect that WPM will require recourse to its debt facilities at any point in the foreseeable future.

Exhibit 17: Financial summary

$000s

 

2020

2021

2022

2023

2024e

2025e

2026e

Dec

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

PROFIT & LOSS

Revenue

 

 

1,096,224

1,201,665

1,065,053

1,016,045

1,190,791

1,538,461

1,680,963

Cost of Sales

(266,763)

(287,947)

(267,621)

(228,171)

(246,868)

(333,323)

(358,687)

Gross Profit

829,461

913,718

797,432

787,874

943,923

1,205,137

1,322,276

EBITDA

 

 

763,763

852,733

735,245

719,704

873,830

1,135,045

1,252,183

Operating profit (before amort. and excepts.)

 

 

519,874

597,940

503,293

505,270

622,812

747,813

837,439

Intangible Amortisation

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Exceptionals

4,469

162,806

164,214

4,593

0

0

0

Other

387

190

7,680

33,658

19,592

0

0

Operating Profit

524,730

760,936

675,187

543,521

642,404

747,813

837,439

Net Interest

(16,715)

(5,817)

(5,586)

(5,510)

(5,510)

461

1,011

Profit Before Tax (norm)

 

 

503,546

592,313

505,387

533,418

636,894

748,274

838,450

Profit Before Tax (FRS 3)

 

 

508,015

755,119

669,601

538,011

636,894

748,274

838,450

Tax

(211)

(234)

(475)

(367)

(102,790)

(102,812)

(113,799)

Profit After Tax (norm)

503,335

592,079

504,912

533,051

534,104

645,462

724,650

Profit After Tax (FRS 3)

507,804

754,885

669,126

537,644

534,104

645,462

724,650

Average Number of Shares Outstanding (m)

448.7

450.1

451.6

452.8

453.1

453.1

453.1

EPS - normalised (c)

 

 

112

132

112

118

118

142

160

EPS - normalised and fully diluted (c)

 

 

112

131

112

118

118

142

160

EPS - (IFRS) (c)

 

 

113

168

148

119

118

142

160

Dividend per share (c)

42

57

60

60

62

71

76

Gross Margin (%)

75.7

76.0

74.9

77.5

79.3

78.3

78.7

EBITDA Margin (%)

69.7

71.0

69.0

70.8

73.4

73.8

74.5

Operating Margin (before GW and except.) (%)

47.4

49.8

47.3

49.7

52.3

48.6

49.8

BALANCE SHEET

Fixed Assets

 

 

5,755,441

6,046,427

6,039,813

6,463,774

7,103,359

7,222,840

7,314,808

Intangible Assets

5,521,632

5,940,538

5,753,111

6,169,534

6,809,119

6,928,600

7,020,568

Tangible Assets

33,931

44,412

30,607

47,562

47,562

47,562

47,562

Investments

199,878

61,477

256,095

246,678

246,678

246,678

246,678

Current Assets

 

 

201,831

249,724

720,093

567,411

282,196

593,454

894,738

Stocks

3,265

12,102

13,817

10,806

13,231

17,094

18,677

Debtors

5,883

11,577

10,187

10,078

6,525

8,430

9,211

Cash

192,683

226,045

696,089

546,527

262,440

567,930

866,850

Other

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Current Liabilities

 

 

(31,169)

(29,691)

(30,717)

(26,075)

(24,453)

(28,598)

(29,814)

Creditors

(30,396)

(28,878)

(29,899)

(25,471)

(23,849)

(27,994)

(29,210)

Short term borrowings

(773)

(813)

(818)

(604)

(604)

(604)

(604)

Long Term Liabilities

 

 

(211,532)

(16,343)

(11,514)

(19,594)

(122,384)

(225,196)

(236,205)

Long term borrowings

(197,864)

(2,060)

(1,152)

(5,625)

(5,625)

(5,625)

(5,625)

Other long term liabilities

(13,668)

(14,283)

(10,362)

(13,969)

(116,759)

(219,571)

(230,580)

Net Assets

 

 

5,714,571

6,250,117

6,717,675

6,985,516

7,238,717

7,562,500

7,943,526

CASH FLOW

Operating Cash Flow

 

 

779,156

845,832

737,821

725,548

892,928

1,133,422

1,251,035

Net Interest

(13,763)

(187)

6,227

33,770

(5,510)

461

1,011

Tax

49

(279)

(171)

(6,192)

0

0

(102,790)

Capex

149,648

(404,437)

(44,750)

(648,963)

(890,602)

(506,713)

(506,713)

Acquisitions/disposals

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Financing

22,396

7,992

10,171

12,934

0

0

0

Dividends

(167,212)

(218,052)

(237,097)

(265,109)

(280,903)

(321,680)

(343,624)

Net Cash Flow

770,274

230,869

472,201

(148,012)

(284,087)

305,490

298,920

Opening net debt/(cash)

 

 

774,766

5,954

(223,172)

(694,119)

(540,298)

(256,211)

(561,701)

HP finance leases initiated

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Other

(1,462)

(1,743)

(1,254)

(5,809)

0

0

0

Closing net debt/(cash)

 

 

5,954

(223,172)

(694,119)

(540,298)

(256,211)

(561,701)

(860,621)

Source: Company accounts, Edison Investment Research


General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by Wheaton Precious Metals and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by Wheaton Precious Metals. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

Copyright: Copyright 2024 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

Australia

Edison Investment Research Pty Ltd (Edison AU) is the Australian subsidiary of Edison. Edison AU is a Corporate Authorised Representative (1252501) of Crown Wealth Group Pty Ltd who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (Number: 494274). This research is issued in Australia by Edison AU and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. Any advice given by Edison AU is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. You should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If our advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product you should read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or like instrument.

New Zealand

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United Kingdom

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General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by Wheaton Precious Metals and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by Wheaton Precious Metals. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

Copyright: Copyright 2024 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

Australia

Edison Investment Research Pty Ltd (Edison AU) is the Australian subsidiary of Edison. Edison AU is a Corporate Authorised Representative (1252501) of Crown Wealth Group Pty Ltd who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (Number: 494274). This research is issued in Australia by Edison AU and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. Any advice given by Edison AU is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. You should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If our advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product you should read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or like instrument.

New Zealand

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United Kingdom

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United States

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London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

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United Kingdom

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

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