Polymetal's boss, Vitaly Nesis, predicts three-year wait for FTSE return

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The Independent Online

The chief executive of Polymetal International, the Russian gold producer which exits the FTSE 100 this month, has warned that it could take three years for it to re-enter the blue-chip index.

The weakness in the commodities markets has seen Polymetal's shares decline in value to the extent that the St Petersburg-based group and steelmaker Evraz will also lose membership of the elite list of biggest public companies. The housebuilder Persimmon and builders' merchant Travis Perkins will replace them.

Polymetal's chief executive, Vitaly Nesis, told The Independent: "Membership of the FTSE 100 is not predicated on [financial results], the share price reflects expectations – and the gold and silver prices have fallen off. I believe the recent drop has heralded the start of an adjustment in the commodity cycle."

He said that this cycle would last two to three years, and the only way Polymetal could regain its former market value ahead of an upswing would be through acquisition.

Mr Nesis said that he would be looking at all-share deals of up to $1bn (£640m) by the fourth quarter, when he expects good mining assets to be available at reasonable prices.

However, he also plans to woo back Russian investors in the business through a secondary listing on the Moscow stock exchange.

Mr Nesis said this move was "imminent" and would "recapture some of the loyal investors" who held shares in Russia before Polymetal became one of the first two Russian groups on the FTSE 100 in 2011.

The other group was Evraz, in which Chelsea FC's owner, Roman Abramovich, has a stake. At that point, Polymetal was valued at more than £3.5bn, but today is worth less than £2.5bn following a sharp decline since the start of the year.

Mr Nesis also argued that around 15 per cent of gold mines globally would have shut down as they are grossly inefficient.

"They were built on hype," he said. "They were financed by stupid equity money and now they have to be closed to restore a healthy balance [to the gold industry].

"Their real margin can be around minus 20 per cent."

Polymetal was founded by Mr Nesis's billionaire older brother, Alexander, through his investment vehicle, ICT Group.