* Intergeo aims to sell about 10 pct stake in IPO
* IPO expected to raise C$100 mln to C$500 mln
* IPO planned for end of year in Toronto
* Canadian mining veteran John Lill hired as CEO
(Adds quote in 10th paragraph)
By Pav Jordan and Julie Gordon
TORONTO, May 11 (Reuters) - Intergeo, the Russian copper and nickel company owned by billionaires Mikhail Prokhorov and Maxim Finskiy, hopes to raise from C$100 million ($104.2 million) to C$500 million in a initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange by the end of the year.
Finskiy, the company’s chairman and 20 percent stakeholder, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday the company would float about 10 percent of its shares in the offering.
“We are planning to bring it to a Toronto listing by the end of the fall, by the end of the year,” Finskiy said between meetings with investors in Toronto as part of a two-day visit.
He said the company was worth “definitely over C$1 billion, not over C$5 billion.”
Prokhorov, who controls 80 percent of Intergeo, is a self-made Russian billionaire and one of the world’s richest men.
Prokhorov is the chairman of Russia’s largest gold producer, Polyus Gold (PLZL.MM), formed out of the gold-mining assets of Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.MM). He was part owner and chief executive of Norilsk until 2007.
Finskiy, who divides his time between Russia and the United States, said the partners aimed to leverage Prokhorov’s U.S. contacts to attract top investors.
“He has a personal relationship with many investors in North America, and he is the owner of the New Jersey Nets, and he is a very recognizable figure in North America, even more than in Europe,” said Finskiy. Prokhorov bought the NBA’s New Jersey franchise last year.
The company prefers to list in Toronto over New York because the Canadian city has a better understanding of mining and mining finance.
“The New York Stock Exchange has too many different requirements and is not very attractive for companies with just exploration projects or late-stage feasibility projects in their pipeline,” Finskiy said.
Prokhorov launched Intergeo in 2008 as an exploration company, and announced plans to invest more than $10 billion developing copper, nickel, molybdenum, titanium and precious metals fields.
Finskiy said Intergeo, a subsidiary of Russia’s Onexim group private equity fund, which is also owned by Prokhorov, would use cash from the IPO to fund development of its two main projects in Russia: a sulphide nickel deposit and a nickel, copper and platinum group metals deposit.
He described the former property as one of the largest undeveloped sulphide nickel deposits in the world.
Russia is the world’s largest producer of nickel, palladium and platinum.
The company has already invested $300 million in acquisitions and exploration.
“So those are the two giant projects that are the first priority of Intergeo,” said Finskiy. “Intergeo will be a large tier producer of copper, nickel and the PGMs (platinum group metals).”
Intergeo could begin production within four to five years, Finskiy said, adding that he has just hired Canadian mining industry veteran John Lill, former chief executive of FNX Mining, to be the company’s CEO.
$1=$0.96 Canadian Reporting by Pav Jordan and Julie Gordon; editing by Peter Galloway and Rob Wilson