Russian leading Silver Miner changes chief for more than $900mln
The owners of Russian metals major Polimetall have sold the company to an investment firm controlled by a member of the State Duma, officials said Friday.
A source close to the deal said Nafta Moskva paid St. Petersburg-based IST Group, Polimetall`s previous owner, "more than $900 million" for 100 percent of the world`s sixth-largest silver producer and Russia`s No. 2 gold company.
Polimetall, which has been considering listing shares on a foreign stock exchange, said the new shareholders would continue to develop the company`s mining business, expand its mineral resource base, raise output and improve production efficiency.
"Polimetall supposes that the possibility of a public offering on the international financial market in the medium term will still occur," it said in a statement.
Nafta Moskva is owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a deputy in the State Duma and member of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party.
Analysts played down the significance of Kerimov`s link to the authorities, saying the value of the deal was largely in line with the market`s valuation of the company.
"There are a lot of members of parliament who have business interests. It`s not an issue in this country. I wouldn`t read too much into it, to be quite honest," said Renaissance Capital analyst Rob Edwards, who put Polimetall`s value at about $1 billion.
Nafta Moskva`s other holdings include 5.3 percent of state-controlled Sberbank and 4.5 percent of Gazprom.
Polimetall has become a leading Russian gold producer in recent years as it has expanded its network of mines and exploration sites.