* Russia urges companies to consider re-listing in Moscow
* Premium listings have not justified expectations - banker
* Polyus shares down 1 pct, lag FTSE Gold Mines Index
(Adds context, reaction from banker and analyst)
MOSCOW, April 9 Russia's biggest gold miner
Polyus Gold is considering delisting from London,
Kommersant newspaper said on Wednesday, which would make it the
first Russian company to heed a call by officials to bring
assets home to survive Western sanctions.
Russian firms have long sought listings in London to boost
liquidity in their shares, expand their shareholder base and
gain prestige, but since annexing Ukraine's Crimea region,
Moscow has urged them to re-list at home to avoid sanctions.
Polyus, a Jersey-registered firm with assets in Russia and a
premium listing in London, plans to discuss the possible
delisting at the next meeting of its board of directors, the
newspaper said, citing unnamed sources.
Polyus, part-owned by businessman Suleiman Kerimov, declined
to comment on whether it could delist from London or change its
domicile from Jersey.
Its shares were down 1.0 percent at 199.75 pence on
Wednesday, compared with a 2.0 percent rise in the FTSE Gold
Other companies will probably consider relisting in Moscow
after failing to see increased liquidity and because of the many
requirements that come with having an overseas listing, said an
investment banker, who asked not to be named.
"I think it's not related to politics or not directly
related," the banker said, adding that the premium listings had
not "justified the expectations" of companies.
More than 10 of Russia's leading companies are registered
abroad, most led by the country's richest tycoons.
Apart from Polyus, Russian gold and silver producer
Polymetal and steelmaker Evraz have premium
listings in London, under which firms are expected to meet the
UK's highest standards of regulation and corporate governance.
In a conference call following the release of Evraz's 2013
financial results on Wednesday, chief executive Alexander Frolov
said the company would look into the issue.
"We need time to analyse the situation. What's more, we have
fairly significant foreign assets and we need to accurately look
out for the interests of all stakeholders," Frolov said in
answer to a question about delisting.
Polymetal said it was not considering delisting from London.
On Tuesday, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov urged
companies listed on foreign stock exchanges to consider
relisting in Moscow to protect themselves from sanctions imposed
by the West over Russia's annexation of Crimea.
His remarks were the latest in a campaign backed by
President Vladimir Putin to encourage politicians and
businessmen to return from the "offshore shadows" and stop
spiriting cash out of the country to boost a flagging economy.
But the advice could serve to add to concerns of "Russia
risks" for investors, analysts of Nomura said in a note.
"There is nothing substantial from a regulation perspective,
and no actual impact but we do see this as being a part of the
enhanced 'risking' for Russian companies post Ukraine," they
(Reporting by Polina Devitt, Olga Popova, Alessandra Prentice
and Svetlana Burmistrova; Additional reporting by Megan Davies;
Editing by Elizabeth Piper and Mark Potter)