ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - Russia’s largest gold producer Polyus is sticking to its long-term goal of raising its free float to 25-30%, Pavel Grachev, its chief executive, said on Thursday.
Polyus’s free float rose to 20.5% in April after its controlling shareholder - Said Kerimov, son of Russian tycoon Suleiman Kerimov - sold a 3.8% stake in the company via an accelerated bookbuilding raising $390 million.Speaking on the sidelines of the St Petersburg economic forum, Grachev said any future sales of its shares would be subject to a decision by its shareholders.
Polyus said in 2018 that it could consider increasing the free float to 25-30 percent, which it sees as a more appropriate level, in the mid- to long-term to increase liquidity of its shares and lead to a re-rating of its valuation.
Polyus returned to the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2017, when it sold shares worth more than $800 million in Moscow and London.
Grachev also said that Polyus was on track to produce 2.8 million troy ounces of gold and spend $725 million on capital expenditures in 2019.
Speaking about Polyus’s recently launched Natalka gold deposit in Russia’s far east, the CEO said it was progressing well after reaching its project capacity in early 2019. Natalka will produce 400,000 ounces of gold in 2019, he added.
The exploration of the giant Sukhoi Log gold deposit in eastern Siberia is also on track, and Polyus plans to prepare an independent audit, conducted in compliance with JORC Code, of the deposit’s reserves in 2020.
Polyus bought the rights to develop Sukhoi Log from the Russian state in 2017. It is one of the world’s largest untapped gold deposits and contains about one fifth of Russia’s reserves.
The feasibility study and the final investment decision for Sukhoi Log are expected in 2021. The preliminary estimate of the cost of the project so far remains unchanged at $2-2.5 billion, Grachev said.
Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Maria Kiselyova