Kazakhmys chief pockets £600m in record share sale

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The Independent Online

Cha Yong Keu, the outgoing chief executive of Kazakhmys, is selling shares worth £600m from his stake in the copper mining company, in the biggest-ever director share sale at a business listed in London.

Mr Cha, a Korean national who lives in Putney, south-west London, is quitting the company because he wants to be freed up to spend more time in Korea.

The 50-year-old, who has two children at university in the UK, joined the company in 1994. He will reduce his stake in Kazakhmys, which has operations in Kazakhstan and listed in London a year ago, from 15.6 per cent to 4.5 per cent - worth a further £243m.

The move comes as part of a reshuffling of the holdings of a number of the company's directors. From the shares being divested by Mr Cha, a 2 per cent stake in the company was sold to investors in London, at 1,158p a share, and another 2 per cent in Kazakhstan.

Vladimir Kim, 46, the executive chairman, who also lives in London, bought the remainder from Mr Cha, a 7.1 per cent stake in Kazakhmys, also at 1,158p a share. In turn, Mr Kim gifted a 2.5 per cent stake in the company to Vladimir Ni, who is the chairman of the operating unit in Kazakhstan, "in recognition of his longstanding business relationship with Mr Kim". Mr Kim's largesse is worth £135m at yesterday's closing share price.

Mr Kim was a former communist-era official who was in charge of the company when Kazakhstan broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991. He has maintained managerial control ever since and will add Mr Cha's chief executive role to his chairman duties when Mr Cha departs at the end of this year. The combined role will contravene corporate governance guidelines.

Mr Kim's shareholding in the copper miner increased from 39.9 per cent to 46.5 per cent as a result of the share transactions, a holding worth £2.7bn. Also yesterday, the finance director, Oleg Novachuk, transferred stakes of 2.5 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively, worth £184m, to Ruslan Yun and Gafura Ibrayeva, both colleagues, "to settle amounts he owes to Mr Yun and Mrs Ibrayeva for acquisitions of shares from them".

All these shares transactions were carried out before the official end of the lock-up of directors shares, which expires on 7 October, but that was waived by the company's brokers JP Morgan Cazenove and Credit Suisse. Since listing in London, the company's headquarters are in Victoria.

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