MegaFon float put on hold as Russia’s richest man sits tight

THE global uncertainty around public listings was underlined yesterday when the chief executive of Russian mobile phone group MegaFon indicated its highly anticipated float might not occur for some time.

Russia’s second biggest mobile operator – controlled by Arsenal shareholder and Russia’s richest man Alisher Usmanov – plans to list up to 20 per cent on the London stock exchange in a deal that was expected to raise $4bn (£2.6bn) during the second half of 2012.

Yesterday, however, chief executive Ivan Tavrin said: “An IPO is a process that may take place when there are (positive) external factors and internal desire. Today, as you can see, there are no IPOs in the world.”

He said he could not speculate on whether the markets would improve in time for an initial public offering this year.

Several other IPOs have been postponed including those by Formula One, Russia’s O1 Properties and luxury jeweler Graff Diamonds.

German chemicals and real estate group Evonik is also reportedly planning to put off its flotation again, valuing the firm at up to €17bn (£13.78bn), amid market turmoil. Its owners, the RAG-Stiftung foundation and CVC Capital Partners, could not be contacted yesterday.