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RPT-UPDATE 1-Uralkali considers full London listing in 2012
October 31, 2011 / 8:52 AM / 6 years ago

RPT-UPDATE 1-Uralkali considers full London listing in 2012

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* Full listing is one of several options - spokeswoman

* Will need to improve corporate governance

* Polymetal, Polyus and Evraz have confirmed full listing plans

By John Bowker

MOSCOW, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Russian potash miner Uralkali is considering a full stock market listing in London next year as one of several options for improving shareholder value, but first needs to improve its corporate governance standards, a spokeswoman said on Monday.

Three Russian mining companies -- Polymetal , Polyus Gold and Evraz HK1q.L -- have also announced plans to launch full London listings in recent weeks, hoping to broaden their shareholder base and improve access to capital.

The trio hope to achieve entry to the FTSE 100 , which would make them the first Russian stocks to join the blue-chip index.

Such a move could also help the companies clinch merger and acquisition deals, or make them more attractive takeover targets.

Uralkali, the world’s second-biggest producer of the fertiliser ingredient potash, has said in the past it wants to buy a controlling stake in Belarussian trading partner Belaruskali, but does not yet have enough information to value the firm.

Uralkali could follow the three other Russian miners to a full London listing in 2012, a company spokeswoman said, though the move was only one of several options available and was far from set in stone.

“It is not a set plan -- just one of the options we are exploring for next year. We are working towards improving corporate governance and information disclosure so that if investors say they want a premium listing we will be prepared for that,” she said.

The company has not appointed banks for such a move, she said. The idea had been floated by Uralkali Chief Executive Vladislav Baumgertner at the Reuters Russia Investment Summit earlier this year.

Shares in Uralkali were up 2.2 percent at 0800 GMT, outperforming the wider Moscow market. They have risen 24 percent since the start of October, valuing the group at more than $28 billion.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

Uralkali, which is controlled by billionaire oligarch Suleiman Kerimov and associates, already has a secondary London listing in the form of global depository receipts (GDRs) and the spokeswoman said investors are satisfied with the setup.

The company has also launched a $2.5 billion share buyback and pledged to pay at least 50 percent of its earnings in dividends to deliver returns for shareholders.

Polymetal’s Alexander Nesis is also a 12.16 percent owner of Uralkali, according to Uralkali’s website, making him the second-biggest shareholder behind Kerimov.

Uralkali merged with fellow Russian potash producer Silvinit -- also part-owned by Kerimov -- earlier this year.

The company was forced to defend the terms of the deal in court after a legal claim by fertiliser group and minor Silvinit shareholder Acron , but was eventually cleared to complete the tie-up.

The Uralkali spokeswoman said an example of improved corporate governance at the firm was the presence on the board of three independent directors, including former Legal & General Chairman Sir Robert Margetts and former Kremlin Chief of Staff Alexander Voloshin.

Among other Russian companies which have made a similar move, Polymetal, a gold and silver miner part-owned by tycoons Alexander Nesis and Alexander Mamut, raised nearly 491 million pounds ($792.7 million) when debuting on the main London market on Friday. ($1 = 0.619 British Pounds) (Additional reporting by Megan Davies and Stephen Mangan; Editing by David Holmes)

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