Putin presidential rival seeking $1 billion in London for his gold company

Bloomberg reports that Russia's Polyus Gold International, owned by Mikhail Prokhorov, a Vladimir Putin rival in upcoming presidential elections, could raise us much as $1 billion as part of its planned listing and share sale in London.

Polyus follows fellow Russian miners Evraz Plc and Polymetal International to London aiming for inclusion in the prestigious FTSE-100 index.

Bloomberg reports:

Prokhorov, who owns 38 percent of Polyus, said last month he will run in the March presidential election and may quit business to pursue his political ambitions.

The delay in government approval for Polyus is “just technical” as Prokhorov is loyal to the Kremlin, said Stanislav Belkovsky, a political analyst who heads the Council for National Strategy in Moscow. “The purpose of Prokhorov running for president is to absorb 5 percent to 7 percent of protest votes from the liberal part of society making it possible for Putin to win in the first round of elections,” he said.

Reuters reports:

Polyus has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, VTB Capital and Renaissance Capital, the source said.

Polyus is seeking to follow in the footsteps of Russian miners Polymetal, which raised nearly $800 million, and Evraz, in seeking the greater liquidity and investor exposure that comes with a full London listing.

Thousands of Russians in street marches held over December called for strongman Vladimir Putin to resign over what they say was rigged elections. The rallies were some of the largest the country has seen since the fall of the USSR.

Image of protests in Moscow on Sakharov Avenue 24 December 2011 by nouseforname / Shutterstock.com