Polymetal CEO: new tax proposals to hit price of Russian assets sale

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Gold and silver producer Polymetal International has completed a shortlist of potential buyers of its Russian assets but newly proposed taxes could significantly lower the price, chief executive Vitaly Nesis said on Monday.

Polymetal International completed re-domiciling to Kazakhstan from Jersey last month, getting a listing on the Central Asian nation’s Astana International Exchange (AIX) and saying it would sell the Russian business within six to nine months.

Nesis said his current expectation was nine months. He said that Russia’s new exchange-rate-linked export duty, expected to take effect from Oct. 1, “will have a significant negative impact on the expected sale price of the Russian business”.

The duty, announced last week, will range from 4% to 7%, reaching its maximum if the rouble is weaker than 95 per dollar, as it is now. On Monday afternoon it was trading at 96.05.

Nesis confirmed media reports that while the interested parties for the Russian business were Russian and Chinese buyers, an independent committee of the board of directors had hired a consultant, “a reputable, Western one”.

Nesis has said a new Russian rule requiring investors from “unfriendly” jurisdictions to accept a discount of half the market price if they sell their Russian assets would not apply to Polymetal thanks to its redomiciling to Kazakhstan.

He said in comments cleared for publication on Monday that there was big interest in Polymetal’s Russian assets and he was not expecting any “catastrophic” discount.

“The sanction status of the Russian business is an important factor for structuring the sale. It will probably scare off some buyers. But I am saying with confidence that the deal will take place,” he said.

Nesis said the company will “definitely” pay a dividend on its 2023 results. The board would discuss an interim dividend in December, depending on financial conditions and on progress with the sale of the Russian business, he said.

(Reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)