Polymetal last month said it was considering moving its parent company’s domicile and primary listing, currently in Jersey and London respectively, to “Russia-friendly” Kazakhstan, which “could unblock the ability to execute further corporate actions”.
The move would allow the company to spin off the Kazakh business, which accounts for about 38% of revenue and 32% of annual production. While domiciled in Jersey, deemed an “unfriendly” jurisdiction by Russia, no separation of assets is possible.
“We want to take the Kazakh business out of the shadows, out from under the canopy of sanctions,” CEO Vitaly Nesis told Reuters. “That’s why we have to split up the company first.”
Nesis said the company’s management was in discussions with the London Stock Exchange, the FCA regulator and service providers about retaining a form of LSE listing after the move to Astana and was counting on clarity within 1-2 months.
“We are applying maximum efforts to maintain our listing in London, but given the recent, ninth sanctions package…the task is not simple. Many service providers are reluctant even to engage in dialogue about securing a listing after the move.”
The decision about changing the listing will be put to shareholders and requires 75% approval. The European Union’s ninth sanctions package bars investment in Russia’s mining industry.
Polymetal has not been individually targeted with sanctions imposed against Moscow, but has faced hurdles.
Shares in the miner have slumped almost 80% in London since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year. According to Nesis, its share of institutional investors has “significantly decreased”, although BlackRock BLK.N retains around 7.5%.
Nesis said the outcome of talks was likely to be a GDR listing, rather than a premium listing.
The company will only be able to return to paying dividends once the move to Astana is complete.
He said sales have already been separated – the business in Kazakhstan sells all its gold to the central bank, while in Russia last year the majority of metal was sold to Asia.
But starting from 2023, Polymetal has returned to Russia’s rapidly growing domestic market with gold sales from its Russian assets, Nesis said, and is not engaged in export.