Highland Gold owner weighs buying Polymetal assets

Credit: Polymetal International

Mining magnate Vladislav Sviblov is weighing a purchase of some of the Russian assets of Polymetal International Plc, Kommersant newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the situation it didn’t name.

Sviblov’s representatives have already carried out a due diligence study of some assets, according to the newspaper.

The tycoon emerged as mining magnate in 2020 after buying a 40% stake in Highland Gold from billionaire Roman Abramovich and other investors in a deal that valued the Russia-focused miner at about $1.4 billion. Last year, he agreed to buy Kinross Gold Corp.’s Russian assets for $680 million as the Canadian miner sought to exit Russia in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

A spokesperson for Highland Gold declined to comment to Bloomberg on Saturday. A representative for Polymetal didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Polymetal, Russia’s second biggest gold-miner, is studying moving its domicile from Jersey to the capital of Kazakhstan, where it also has assets, as it seeks to base itself in a jurisdiction deemed to be “friendly” by Russia.

Operations in Russia account for about 70% of the firm’s sales. The company last July indicated that it planned to sell its Russian unit, but the move stalled as the Kremlin banned the sale of strategic assets by owners registered in jurisdictions it considers non-friendly after the invasion of Ukraine.

Polymetal indicated in January that a sale of Russian assets was still on the table, but would depend on shifting its domicile.

Neither Polymetal or its shareholders, including billionaire Alexander Nesis, have been targeted by European or American sanctions, but widespread restrictions targeting Russia have caused troubles with logistics, sales and equipment supplies.


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