Centerra scraps dividends, gets Turkish project financing facility extended

Centerra’s subsidiary Kumtor Gold is the largest non-state employer and taxpayer in Kyrgyzstan and represents some 10% of its overall GDP, makes up 25% of its industry and contributes 50% of export earnings. Centerra Gold was the lowest-cost gold producer in Q4, according to data provided by SNL Metals & Mining. (Image courtesy of Centerra Gold)

Shares in Centerra Gold (TSX:CG) were falling Monday after the Canadian miner announced it won’t pay a third quarter dividend due to current restrictions to funds held at its Kyrgyz Republic subsidiary, Kumtor Gold.

The company, which recently completed the acquisition of US-based competitor Thompson Creek Metals (TSX:TCM), has also decided to suspend all dividends until further notice.

Centerra is suspending all dividends until further notice, due to current restrictions to funds held at its Kyrgyz Republic subsidiary, Kumtor Gold.

Centerra, which is the largest Western-based producer of the precious metal in Central Asia, has faced several issues in the Kyrgyz Republic in recent years, including protests and permit delays.

Last month, the company warned that it subsidiary continued to be subject to an interim order that bans it from taking any actions relating to certain financial transactions, including transferring property or assets, declaring or paying dividends, or making loans to Centerra.

While such order does not stops KGC from using its cash resources to operate the mine, it does mean that all the cash Kumtor generates is being held in KGC, not reaching Centerra, the miner said at the time.

Given the uncertain scenario in Kyrgyzstan, the Toronto-based miner has been actively diversifying away from Kumtor, an operation whose associated risks have proved a drag on the company’s market valuation.

As part of that strategy, the firm has been advancing its Oksut project, in south-central Turkey, located less than 300 km south of capital Ankara.

The company said Friday that UniCredit Bank AG and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have granted it an to June 30 next year to satisfy various conditions to access $150 million needed to finance a substantial portion of the construction, development and operation of the Oksut gold mine and its related infrastructure.

The stock was down almost 4% to Cdn$6.98 in Toronto at 11:22 am.

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