Southern Copper Gives High Yield, High Profit Potential

Here's a company to get genuinely excited about: Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE: SCCO).

Why?

Because Southern Copper has world-class assets and high profit potential, but its share price has taken a dive amid all of the recent market turmoil.

I love to find a sound business whose stock price has been pummeled in the uncertain markets. It screams bargain and is a major buying opportunity.

And in this case, the fact that Southern Copper's stock price has dropped means its already-juicy dividend has increased. Currently the company's $2.48 dividend equates to a 9.5% yield.

Plus, it's consistent: Over the last five years, Southern Copper has averaged a payout of 83% of its after-tax profits.

Given all that, it's time to buy this high-yielding, high-quality mining company (**).

Southern Copper Corp. Outshines the Competition

Southern Copper Corp., founded in 1952, engages in mining, smelting, and refining mineral properties in Peru, Mexico, and Chile. It has the largest copper reserves of any publicly traded company, and last year mined more than 1 billion tons of copper. That means it is perfectly positioned to profit from increasing global demand for copper.

The company operates the Toquepala and Cuajone mines in the Andes Mountains located southeast of Lima, Peru, as well as a smelter and refinery in the coastal city of Ilo, Peru. It also operates underground mines that produce zinc, gold, and lead, as well as a coal mine that produces coal and coke.

Southern Copper's mines are estimated to have a productive life of about 80 years. That means 80 years of revenue from copper, gold and silver deposits.

Southern Copper has built a fully integrated operations model that allows it to mine the raw material, refine it, and export the final product. As a result, the company controls each of the value-added steps in copper production. It's also made Southern Copper the sixth-largest copper producer in the world, the seventh-largest copper smelter and the ninth-largest copper refiner.

The company's cash operating cost is $1.61 per pound to produce copper, but that cost is lowered to 31 cents per pound by subtracting profits from the mines' byproducts of gold, silver, lead, zinc and coal.

That's a lot of secondary profits hitting the bottom line.

Southern Copper Corp. is a subsidiary of Americas Mining Corp. Its stock is 80% controlled by the parent company Grupo Mexico S.A. de C.V. (PINK: GMBXF), with the public markets owning the other 20%. This relationship is beneficial because Southern Copper is protected by one of the largest companies in the world.

However, this structure has a potential downside: Investors in Southern Copper Corp. could be bought out at some point. The parent division has made an offer to relist the merged divisions, which would include replacing the current shares with newly-listed shares and a slightly different share count.

Normally, I shy away from companies with open corporate actions in front of the board of directors. In this case, however, I am willing to look past the possible changes because of the quality assets and profit potential Southern Copper has to offer.

The company reported second-quarter net income of $658 million, 110% higher than 2010's second quarter. Sales were up 54% to $1.8 million.

The company has a market capitalization of $26 billion with an enterprise value of $28 billion once net debt and cash is accounted for. Its price/earnings (P/E) ratio is 10.73.

Southern Copper Corp. is trading near its 52-week low of $22.58 and closed Tuesday at $26.93.

Action to Take: Buy Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE: SCCO) (**).

Southern Copper Corp. gives us a chance to own the longest-life copper mines and largest total copper reserves in the world. Plus, the company has a long history of paying out a large, regular dividend to its investors.

Let's use the current weakness in price, with the stock trading near its 52-week low, to start building our position in this company.

If you are considering exposing a full 3% of your portfolio to this position, let's consider buying one-third of the position (or 1% of your total portfolio) now at market. This gets us into the stock at low levels.

Since the stock has already broken down in a very weak market, let's exercise some patience and put in some GTC (good-'til-canceled) limit orders at 5% and 15% below where we pick up our first leg in.

This will give us real exposure to the company with our entry, while allowing us a chance to build our position at a lower cost per share.

(**) Special Note of Disclosure: Jack Barnes has no interest in Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE: SCCO).

Money Morning Global Macro Trends Specialist Jack Barnes started his career at Franklin Templeton in 1997. He started out in the company's fund-information department - just as the Asian contagion infected the Asian tiger countries. Barnes launched his own shop, RIA, in 2003, just as the second Gulf War was breaking out. In early 2006, after logging a one-year return of nearly 83%, Forbes named Barnes the top stock picker in its "Armchair Investors Who Beat the Pros" competition. His two audited hedge funds generated double-digit returns in 2008. Barnes retired to the beach in the summer of 2009, and continues to write from there. He's now the author of the popular blog, "Confessions of a Macro Contrarian."

About the Author
Jack Barnes

Money Morning Global Macro Trends Specialist Jack Barnes started his career at Franklin Templeton in 1997. He started out in the company's fund-information department – just as the Asian contagion infected the Asian tiger countries. Barnes launched his own shop, RIA, in 2003, just as the second Gulf War was breaking out. In early 2006, after logging a one-year return of nearly 83%, Forbes named Barnes the top stock picker in its "Armchair Investors Who Beat the Pros" competition. His two audited hedge funds generated double-digit returns in 2008. Barnes retired to the beach in the summer of 2009, and continues to write from there. He's now the author of the popular blog, "Confessions of a Macro Contrarian."

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