November 27, 2012 / 8:55 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Russia's Nord Gold to own 87.9 pct of High River after offer

MOSCOW, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Russia’s Nord Gold will increase its ownership of Toronto-listed subsidiary High River Gold to 87.9 percent under a share offer that could boost its free float and take it a step further to a premium London listing.

The country’s third-largest gold producer, controlled by billionaire Alexei Mordashov, said in July it would bid for the 25 percent of High River it does not already own.

The minorities were offered 0.285 of Nord Gold’s GDRs per High River share or C$1.40 in cash.

Nord Gold said on Tuesday that 108 million shares of High River had been taken up under the offer, meaning Nord Gold will own 739 million shares of High River, representing 87.9 percent.

It is extending the offer to December 8 to allow remaining High River shareholders time to tender their shares.

If enough High River shareholders swap their stock for paper in Nord Gold, the deal could prove a key step towards achieving the 25 percent free-float required to move the gold producer to a premium London listing.

Nord Gold was spun off from Mordashov-owned steel firm Severstal earlier this year and listed its global depositary receipts (GDRs) in London as part of efforts to pursue an ambitious expansion strategy.

Chief Executive Nikolai Zelenski said in a recent interview that the step to move from GDRs to a premium listing is not expected within the coming year, as the company concentrates on resolving operational issues after a difficult first half.

If High River shareholders do not tender their shares in the offer, they will not receive any consideration from Nordgold until the company completes an acquisition, Nord Gold said in Tuesday’s statement.

Nord Gold said it will have enough votes to approve a deal without requiring any other High River shareholder to vote in favour of a transaction.

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