Franco-Nevada Corporation is a Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based company that owns royalties and streams in gold mining and other commodity and natural resource investments. It is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange.
The 'Old Franco-Nevada' was a publicly listed company on the Toronto Stock Exchange from 1983 to 2002. In 1986, Old Franco-Nevada made its first royalty acquisition, and acquired or created additional royalties and resource investments from 1986 to 2002. Following several royalty acquisitions in the 1980s and 1990s, Old Franco-Nevada sold its only mining property to Normandy Mining in exchange for 19.9% of the company's shares.
In 2002, Newmont acquired 100% of Franco-Nevada as part of a three-way combination of Newmont, Normandy and Old Franco-Nevada. Newmont maintained Franco-Nevada as a royalty holding division, transferring numerous other royalties to it over the five-year period following the acquisition, building its portfolio of royalties to include investments in almost 300 royalies (two-thirds in bases and precious metal miners, and one-third in oil and natural gas). In 2007 Newmont spun off Franco-Nevada in an Initial Public Offering.
Franco-Nevada initially began trading as a public gold exploration company in 1983 and was led by executives Seymour Schulich and Pierre Lassonde. At the time, oil and gas royalty ownership—but not gold royalty ownership—was an established business strategy. In 1985 Franco-Nevada raised $930,000 to purchase gold royalties in a follow-on offering. The company made its first royalty investment in 1986, spending half the corporate treasury ($2 million) to acquire 4% of revenues from a mine in Nevada owned by Western States Minerals. The mine had an annual production of 44,000 ounces (1,200,000 g) of gold. Franco-Nevada assumed that known reserves would allow the royalty to pay for itself regardless of additional exploration results. By 2002 the property generated $23 million annually for Franco-Nevada.
In 1988 Franco-Nevada purchased a royalty on the Castle Mountain mine in California. Despite the Castle Mountain mine being unsuccessful, losing money and eventually closing, Franco-Nevada collected triple its investment of $2.8 million.
Franco-Nevada further went on to purchase royalties in various other commodities, but continued its focus on gold.
In April 2001, Franco-Nevada sold the Nevada Midas mine, its only wholly owned mine, to Normandy Mining in exchange for 20% of Normandy and a five-percent royalty on the mine. That September, Anglo Gold made a bid for Normandy at a valuation 60% greater than Franco-Nevada's acquisition cost. Seeing the potential to take advantage of Newmont's rivalry with Anglo, Schulich and Lassonde approached Newmont Mining Corporation to discuss purchasing Franco-Nevada and Normandy, striking a deal richer than Anglo's offer, and ultimately valuing Franco-Nevada shares at a 22% premium.
In 2007 Franco-Nevada launched an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, raising CA$1.1 billion which helped fund the US$1.2 billion acquisition of a large portfolio of royalties from Newmont. The listing was one of the largest in Canadian history, second only to the 2000 Sun Life IPO, and the largest mining IPO in North American History.