April 12, 2018 / 1:02 PM / 9 days ago

Sanctions-hit Russian tycoons may have lost $7.5 billion

MOSCOW/LONDON (Reuters) - Three Russian tycoons targeted by a new list of U.S. sanctions may have lost a combined $7.5 billion (£6.08 billion) since the list was announced, according to Reuters calculations based on price moves in the listed companies the three co-own.

The U.S. Treasury on April 6 announced sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs and 12 companies they own or control, saying they were profiting from a Russian state engaged in “malign activities” around the world.

The news hit Russian markets, denting the rouble and sending shares in four publicly listed companies with links to those sanctioned plummeting both in Russia and elsewhere: Rusal, EN+ Group, GAZ group and Polyus.

Of the seven oligarchs, three have links to publicly listed companies: Oleg Deripaska, Viktor Vekselberg and Suleiman Kerimov.

In U.S. dollar terms, Deripaska may have lost $4.56 billion in four trading days, Vekselberg could have lost $1.32 billion, and Kerimov appeared to have lost $1.58 billion, Reuters’ calculations showed.

Reuters calculated the change in capitalisation of the four publicly traded companies they are linked to from just before the sanctions announcement up to the close of trade on Wednesday. It then adjusted the figures based on the stakes the three own in the firms and used the central bank’s exchange rate set for April 11.

The numbers do not include possible losses related to companies sanctioned by Washington but which have no market listings.

Rusal and En+, controlled by Deripaska, declined to comment. Polyus’s majority shareholder PGIL, through which the Kerimov family controls the company, also declined to comment. Vekselberg’s Renova has not replied to a request for comment.

STINGING SANCTIONS

The latest sanctions have increased overall risk-aversion towards Russian assets, while hitting the companies named on the list especially hard.

FILE PHOTO: President of En+ Group, Oleg Deripaska attends an agreement signing ceremony with the Krasnoyarsk region's government, in Moscow, Russia December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

The main reason for steep drops in the companies’ prices is that the sanctions require investors subject to U.S. jurisdiction to ditch the stocks by May 7.

Shares in Hong Kong-listed aluminium giant Rusal had plunged 55.6 percent by Wednesday’s close in Hong Kong compared with Friday’s close in Hong Kong before the U.S. sanctions were announced.

Shares in EN+ Group, Deripaska’s company listed in London late last year, had fallen 50.8 percent by Wednesday’s close compared with late last Thursday on the eve of the sanctions.

Deripaska owns a 76.6 percent stake in EN+, while EN+ owns a 48 percent stake in Rusal.

Russian billionaire Vekselberg and his partners also own a 26.5 percent stake in Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminium producer.

Shares in Russia’s GAZ group, a manufacturer of light commercial vehicles in which Deripaska owns a 65 percent stake, had shed 9 percent by Wednesday evening from last Thursday’s close on the Moscow Exchange.

Shares in Polyus, Russia’s largest gold producer, in which the family of sanctioned tycoon Kerimov owns an 82 percent stake, dropped 20.3 percent by Wednesday’s close on the Moscow Exchange compared with Thursday’s close a week ago.

Polyus itself was not included in the sanctions list.

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The $7.5 billion figure is a gross loss not including one-off moves to minimise the sanctions impact such as Vekselberg’s reduction of his stake in Swiss pumpmaker Sulzer, news of which lifted Sulzer shares 15 percent on Thursday.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Polina Devitt in MOSCOW and Ritvik Carvalho in LONDON; Additional reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova and Gleb Stolyarov; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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