Gold miner Petropavlovsk caught in UK sanctions against lender
London-listed Petropavlovsk will miss a loan payment due on Friday after Britain froze the assets of its main lender Gazprombank in its latest round of sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia-focused Petropavlovsk has struck deals including loans and bullion sales with Gazprombank, making it difficult for the miner to sell its gold and refinance loans now that Britain has frozen the bank’s assets. The company is not authorized to pay $560,000 in interest due Friday on its $200 million term loan with Gazprombank, Petropavlovsk said.
Although Petropavlovsk itself has not been named in any of the Western sanctions so far, it will be dropped from the FTSE indices this month after many brokers refused to trade their shares in the minor and other with ties to Russia. Shares in Petropavlovsk fell more than 30% on Friday, adding to the loss of more than 85% in share value since Russia began its February 24 invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has called its actions in its neighboring country a “special military operation”.
A Petropavlovsk spokesperson, who declined to comment beyond the company’s statement, said the miner’s debt portfolio consists of facilities with Gazprombank, a convertible bond and a Eurobond, with no other bank loan at present. Western leaders have tightened sanctions against Russia as the attack on Ukraine entered its second month. This had a ripple effect on companies with no apparent direct ties to sanctioned individuals or companies and hurt investor sentiment.
Petropavlovsk was founded by British businessman Peter Hambro and Russian Pavel Maslovskiy in the 1990s. Its main investor is Russian businessman Sergey Sudarikov, who through his business brand REGION , disclosed a just over 29% stake in the miner earlier this month, according to regulatory filings. REGION is also a shareholder in the sanctioned Moscow Credit Bank, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon.
Peel Hunt analysts said in a note that Gazprombank’s asset freeze also complicated Petropavlovsk’s ability to refinance its obligations due in November.
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