Petropavlovsk slumps as debt deadlines loom

 
Suzie Neuwirth
PETROPAVLOVSK’S share price plunged over 14 per cent yesterday, after the FTSE 250-listed miner posted a full-year loss of $713m (£423.3m), slashed its dividend and said it had not yet secured crucial refinancing agreements.

The 2013 loss compared to a $244m loss in 2012 and was largely due to impairments and write-downs from the fall in the gold price.

The Russia-focused gold miner lowered its dividend to 2p per share from 7p per share the previous year.

“Although we have successfully executed a deliberate programme to reduce net debt to less than $1bn at the end of 2013, it is clear that the group requires the successful completion of a refinancing process to strengthen its balance sheet in 2014,” said chairman Peter Hambro.

In the absence of such refinancing, our forecasts show breaches of certain covenants in our banking facilities at 31 December 2014.”

The company said it is in talks with lenders to extend its debt deadlines.

The company said it had reduced its debt by $115m in 2013 and planned to achieve a similar debt reduction to lower its debt to below $850m by the end of 2014.

Full-year revenue was broadly flat at $1.2bn in 2013, with gold production up four per cent, despite heavy floods in the Amur region of Russia where many of its assets lie.

In the first quarter of 2014, gold output rose 16 per cent year-on-year and the firm said it remained on track to produce 625,000 ounces in 2014.

Shares closed 14.1 per cent lower.

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