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Russian gold miner Uzhuralzoloto announces IPO despite UK sanctions on owner

Kitco News

By Anastasia Lyrchikova

MOSCOW, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Russian gold miner Uzhuralzoloto (UGC) will offer up to 5% of capital in new shares in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Moscow Exchange, the company said on Thursday, a day after Britain added its owner Konstantin Strukov to a sanctions list.

Russian share listings have been few and far between since Russia sent its troops into Ukraine in February 2022, and are generally characterised by small volumes and dependent on Russian investors after an exodus of Western capital.

UGC, which is Russia's fourth largest gold miner, said it was considering completing the IPO by the end of November and was preparing a new dividend policy that may see it pay up to 50% of profits to shareholders.

Alfa Bank analysts valued UGC's share capital at 140.5-170.8 billion roubles ($1.53-1.86 billion). Based on that estimate, UGC could raise 7-8.5 billion roubles.

Three financial market sources told Reuters last month that UGC was planning the IPO and gave it a preliminary valuation of 120 billion roubles.

Britain imposed sanctions on 29 individuals and entities in Russia's gold and oil sectors on Wednesday, including Strukov and two of Russia's largest gold producers, Nord Gold and Highland Gold Mining, but not UGC itself.

Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) also issued an alert to financial institutions, warning them about Russian attempts to use gold to evade sanctions.

UGC said individual sanctions would not affect its work, operations or exports. The company said its operations were not exposed to geopolitical fallout as it does not rely on Western-made equipment.

Strukov said the IPO would allow UGC to reach more investors, diversify the shareholder structure and lower its debt burden.

A string of small offerings has breathed some life into Russia's equity capital markets in recent months. Men's clothing chain Henderson raised 3.8 billion roubles last week following a similar capital raising by tech firm Astra in October.

($1 = 92.0100 roubles)

(Reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova; Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Alexander Marrow and Mark Potter)

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