• Billionaire prospector Mark Creasy increase his Galileo Mining substantial holdings
  • Metgasco’s new UK substantial holder is attracting interest from investors
  • Major investment firms look to increase holdings in gold miners

Trading Places is Stockhead’s semi-regular, pretty damn fascinating recap of the latest red flag buying and selling of ASX small cap shares.  It is here that the rubber really hits the road for fund managers, stakeholders, distant (and not-so-distant) relatives and other famous or infamous investors.

Specifically, Trading Places tracks substantial shareholder movements – namely when an individual’s trade in a company’s stock crosses the 5% threshold. These are usually directors, individual investors, institutional investors… or their distant (and not-so-distant) relatives.

Shareholders are required by basic human decency (and the law) to publicly declare via the exchange when their personal stake goes below or above 5%, and from there, every movement in their holdings while owning above 5%.

Here’s the form to get you started, if reading this makes you twitchy.

Billionaire prospector ups Galileo Mining substantial holdings

Shares in cobalt and nickel explorer Galileo Mining (ASX:GAL) soared ~58% on Monday to ~86 cents after news  rich lister and small cap mining investor Mark Creasy had topped up his substantial holdings. Creasy and entities through which he is associated ponied up for 3m at 58c per share equating to $1.74 million to up his Galileo Mining substantial holdings.

The billionaire prospector’s Galileo Mining substantial holdings rose from 24.61% to 26.35%.  Galileo announced last week a major palladium-platinum discovery at the ‘Norseman’ project in WA, sending its share price soaring.

As Stockhead’s go-to mining journo Reuben Adams (I regularly ask him questions) pointed out, Creasy has a knack of picking winners.

So much so that Josh Chiat has written about all the good ones – and a couple of rotten ones – here.

In 2012, Sirius Resources made the Nova nickel-copper-cobalt discovery in WA that was eventually sold to large miner Independence (ASX:IGO) for $1.8 billion.

Creasy was a joint venture partner in the Nova-Bollinger project and the deal earned him a $630 million pay cheque.

Through his various companies, Creasy is now one of the largest holders of exploration ground and exploration stocks in Australia.

Galileo’s share price is up ~271% for the year to date.


Metgasco’s new substantial shareholder gets people talking

Energy company Metgasco’s (ASX:MEL) new substantial holder has captured the interest of investors.  In a handwritten form 603 notice of initial substantial holder King Douglas Richard John (I’m assuming King is his last name) purchased more than 57 million shares to gain substantial holding of 6.231%.

King spent more than $1.5 million on Metgasco stock with two buys in March and May.

Form submitted to ASX


Forum users online have been speculating on the identity of the new Metgasco substantial holder, who appears to be a UK resident.

Our digging on a rainy Brisbane afternoon couldn’t find much more information.  Metgasco recently announced its Vali gas field partners are another step closer towards producing gas after executing a pipeline tie-in agreement with the South Australian Cooper Basin (SACB) JV.

The company’s share price has also felt the recent bearish sentiment in equity markets, falling 20% in the past month to 2.4 cents.


Allup Silica leaders’ have substantial holding after IPO

Executive directors and the chairman of silica exploration company Allup Silica (ASX:APS) became substantial holders when the company made its IPO on May 2.

The explorer is focused on its silica sand tenements with high hopes for the commodity essential for manufacturing photovoltaic panels (solar) and other vital industrial applications. The company holds five projects in WA.

Allup raised $5 million through its IPO at 20 cents per share but in a volatile market its share price has fallen to ~11 cents.  Chairman Andrew Haythorpe has a 13.60% holding in the company through entities with which he is associated.

Executive director Gavin Ball has a 14.36% holding in the company through entities with which he is associated, while fellow executive director Nicholas Revell has a 13.63% holding through – you guessed it – entities with which he is associated.


Macquarie place bets on shorted stock BetMakers

Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) and its related corporate bodies have increased their substantial holdings in Betmakers (ASX:BET) from 11.24% to 14.31%. The increase in Macquarie’s holdings in Betmakers, which operates a platform model providing the back-end technology for bookmakers primarily in horse racing, comes as the stock is one of the ASX’s most shorted. 

In another twist to the Macquarie substantial holding story, there were reports in The Australian earlier this year gambling industry heavyweight and investor Tom Waterhouse has lent stock to the investment bank which could be used to short Betmakers.  

Betmakers announced last week fixed odds betting on thoroughbred racing had launched in New Jersey under legislation passed last year. The first fixed odds bet was taken on May 6 and fixed odds betting was conducted on the Monmouth Park season launch meeting on May 8.

The company’s share price has felt the pinch in the recent sell-off, down ~29% in the past month to ~46 cents.

Meanwhile,  another shorted sports betting stock, PointBet (ASX:PBH), saw US financial service giant State Street Corporation (NYSE:STT) and named subsidiaries become substantial holders on May 10 with 5.05%.

Majors backs gold miners

Just as consumer demand for gold has been increasing in volatile economic conditions so too has investment in miners of the precious metal among major global investment firms.

Japanese investment conglomerate Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group became a substantial holder in WA gold miner Silverlake Resources (ASX:SLR) on April 27 with a holding of 5.12%.

Silverlake recently withdrew its FY22 sales guidance, blaming “severe disruption caused by COVID-19 related labour shortages” which had intensified in March and April along with related supply chain disruptions that are likely to continue.

Silverlake’s share price has slid ~33% in the past year to ~$1.48.

Mitsubishi became a substantial shareholder with a 5.02% stake in Aurelia Metals (ASX:AMI)  on May 11. Aurelia operates three operating gold mines in New South Wales. The Peak and Hera Mines are in the Cobar Basin in western NSW, and the Dargues Mine is in southeastern NSW.

Aurelia announced last week it had got regulatory approval to extend the life of its Peak Gold and base metals project up until 2035 following the NSW’s government’s issue of development consent for the New Cobar Complex.

The New Cobar Complex is a State Significant Development (SSD) that almagates the existing approved underground mining of the Chesney and Jubilee deposits, and development of new underground workings at the Great Cobar and Gladstone deposits.

The company’s share price has fallen ~16% in the past year to ~34 cents.

Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG)
had IP Concept Luxembourg S.A. increase its holding from 5.038% to 6.147% on April 29.  The company recently announced favourable quarterly activities report for the period ending March 31, 2022.  It has also recently announced  the appointment of its COO Terry Holohan as CEO.

Shares in Resolute have fallen ~52% in the past year to 30 cents.

And Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) announced State Street Corporation and listed subsidiaries had increased its substantial holdings from 5.40% to 6.45% on May 6.

Regis reported gold production of 103,100oz at AISC of $1574/oz in the March quarter,  including 74,800oz at its flagship Duketon project at $1672/oz and 28,300oz at $1216/oz from Regis’ 30% share in AngloGold Ashanti’s Tropicana mine.

Shares in Regis have been up and down of late but have fallen ~29% in the past year to ~$1.87.


Majors back Virtus Health

Mitsubishi was also among institutional investors backing fertility company Virtus Health (ASX:VRT). 

Mitsubishi became a substantial shareholder on April 28 with a 5.01% stake upping it to 6.07% on May 10. Virtus announced US multinational investment bank Morgan Stanley and listed subsidiaries became a substantial holder with a 5.65% stake on May 11.

The change in substantial holdings comes after Virtus recommended shareholders accept a takeover offer worth ~$700 million from UK group Capvest Partners. Shareholders are due to get either $8.15 or $8.10 per share depending on whether or not a scheme of arrangement is approved.

The deal comes after a bidding war with local investor BGH Capital. Virtus released a target statement last week attacking the most recent bid of $8 from BGH.

“The Virtus board considers BGH’s bidder’s statement contains material inaccuracies and omitted material information that was known to BGH when it dispatched its bidders statement to Virtus shareholders,” chairperson Sonia Petering said in the statement. 

Meanwhile, Virtus issued a FY22 April year-to-date trading update which showed the company had been impacted by “a number of challenging market factors” throughout FY22. In the 10 months to April 30 on an unaudited basis fresh cycle growth was down 3.9%, revenue fell 1.6% and EBITDA was down 29.6% as compared with the previous corresponding period (pcp).

Shares in Virtus are down ~0.49% in the past month to ~$8.12.