MOSCOW – GV Gold, a Russian miner backed by BlackRock, plans an initial public offering (IPO) in Moscow this year after first doubling its output in a possible acquisition, according to the miner’s chief.
“Our shareholders want an IPO to get a market valuation of the business and have their holdings liquid after many years of investment," CEO German Pikhoya said in interview in Moscow. The miner has already held preliminary talks with banks, he said.
The plans come as Russian IPOs, which slumped amid international sanctions and the collapse in commodity prices, come bouncing back, driven by a rally in crude oil that’s breathed life back into the economy. Last year Russian companies racked up $2.8-billion in IPOs in Moscow and London, the most since 2011.
GV Gold, also known as Vysochaishy, mines at several deposits in Siberia and is controlled by the owners of Lanta-Bank, a small Moscow-based lender. BlackRock holds about 18% in the miner after a deal in 2007 that valued the company at $500-million.
Before going public, GV Gold hopes to conclude a deal to increase output, according to Pikhoya. He declined to name specific targets, saying only that there are “not so many.”
GV Gold may buy billionaire Viktor Vekselberg’s precious-metal producer Kamchatka Gold for over $500-million including debt, RBC newspaper reported last month, citing unidentified people familiar with the deal’s terms.
“If GV Gold were able to buy a similar-sized rival, the whole company’s valuation would be at least $1-billion,” Boris Krasnojenov, head of research at Alfa Bank, said by phone. “Gold is very interesting for investors now, and GV Gold is a decent business.”
The company produced over 6.7 metric tons (215 410 troy ounces) in 2017 compared with 5 tons a year earlier, according to the CEO. Pikhoya said he wants to increase that to 10 to 15 tons a year.
Pikhoya previously was CEO at Polyus Gold, Russia’s biggest gold miner, and led that company to a primary listing in London in 2012.
GV Gold may have its IPO in the first half of 2018 if it succeeds in making a suitable acquisition and the market is good, Pikhoya said. “If not, we are prepared to wait until the window in autumn.