Chinese Gold Miners Said to Compete for $2 Billion Polyus Stake

  • Billionaire Kerimov’s family may sell up to 25% of Polyus
  • Other suitors include China’s Fosun, Qatari investor

Chinese metal producers Zhaojin Mining Industry Co. and Zijin Mining Group Co. are among parties in talks to buy a stake in Polyus PJSC, Russia’s largest gold miner, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Zhaojin is considering teaming with Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. for a joint bid, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. They are weighing offers for as much as a 25 percent stake in Polyus being sold by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov’s family, the people said. The holding could fetch at least $2 billion, they said.

A Qatari investor has also been considering a bid, the people said. Kerimov isn’t in exclusive talks with any of the potential buyers, according to the people.

Polyus has a total market value of about $13 billion, including treasury shares the company has said it plans to cancel. Representatives for Fosun, Polyus and Zijin declined to comment. A spokesman for Zhaojin didn’t immediately answer calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.

Companies controlled by Kerimov’s family bought all the shares of parent company Polyus Gold International Ltd. last year. They delisted Polyus Gold from the London Stock Exchange in December, and the tycoon is now looking to raise cash to reduce debt from the buyout.

Polyus is planning a joint bid with state-owned Rostec Corp. for Russia’s largest gold deposit, Sukhoi Log in Siberia, Chief Executive Officer Pavel Grachev said in a September interview.

The company is also preparing to sell a stake of as much as 5 percent to investors in the coming months. With less than 5 percent of the company’s shares floated, Polyus needs to offer more to comply with the Moscow Exchange’s rules.