Kerimov`s Polymetal is sold to three investors
Suleiman Kerimov, Russia`s eighth-richest man, sold 68 percent of precious metals miner Polymetal in a $2 billion deal transferring ownership to two Russian businessmen and Czech investment firm PPF Group.
The three new shareholders, who include Polymetal founder Alexander Nesis, each control less than 25 percent of Polymetal and are therefore not obliged to make an offer to buy out minority shareholders in Russia`s third-largest gold miner.
Polymetal was valued at slightly over $3 billion by Kerimov and the buyers, a premium of at least 12 percent to the miner`s current market capitalisation of $2.67 billion, a source close to the transaction told Reuters. At this price, a 68 percent stake would be worth $2.04 billion.
"The price of the deal should serve as a benchmark for the market," UniCredit Aton analysts said in a note.
Polymetal is Russia`s top silver miner and expects profits to soar after unwinding a hedge that restricted its ability to take advantage of prices that hit a 27-year high in March.
The company, which floated shares in London last year, also mines almost 5 percent of Russia`s gold, which has traded at record highs of above $1,000 an ounce this year.
PPF Group, controlled by the Czech Republic`s richest businessman Petr Kellner, said it had acquired 24.9 percent of Polymetal. "We expect the appreciation of this investment in a mid-term horizon," the company said in a statement.
Alexander Nesis has acquired 24 percent, Polymetal said in a statement. Nesis founded the company and sold his stake to Kerimov`s Nafta Moskva firm in 2005. His brother, Vitaly, is the company`s chief executive.
The third partner is Alexander Mamut, who now controls 19.1 percent of Polymetal. The mining company said the stakes were all acquired from Aniketa Investments Ltd, a company controlled by Kerimov.
Kellner and his Russian partners have a track record of cooperation in the metals sector. All three were shareholders in Oriel Resources, the Russian ferro-chrome producer being acquired by steel firm Mechel. "The group already has a notable track record of investments and possesses political leverage from which Polymetal will be able to feed," Troika Dialog brokerage said in a note.
Polymetal`s Moscow-traded stock raced up nearly 6 percent when the market opened. It was trading up 3.1 percent at 208.16 roubles at 0905 GMT, outperforming a 0.6 percent increase on the MICEX bourse`s metals and mining index .
Kerimov, 42, was born in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan and has risen to become one of Russia`s richest men.
A newspaper report last week that Kerimov was selling Russian assets to acquire stakes in Western banks, including Deutsche Bank, UBS, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, caused shares in European banks to trade up briefly.