Polymetal says it has no plans for a merger

RUSSIAN precious metals miner Polymetal denied being in talks about a large all-Russian gold merger and said yesterday it planned to focus on organic or self-generated growth.

Shares in the company were the biggest risers in the FTSE 100 yesterday after it also posted a 38 per cent rise in earnings and a dividend hike.

The firm has endured months of speculation that the owners of Polymetal and Polyus Gold, Russia’s largest gold miner, were in talks to create a combined mining business worth $15bn.

“Neither management nor large shareholders are in discussion on a deal,” Polymetal’s chief executive Vitaly Nesis said.

“Polymetal is focused not on large complex deals with high risks and uncertain prospects of value creation, but on organic development.”

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov sold his stake in Polyus Gold to two Russian buyers for $3.6bn in February, having originally harboured ambitions for an international M&A deal involving Polyus.

Polymetal yesterday hiked its year-end dividend by 55 per cent after posting a 38 per cent rise in yearly net profit.

Polymetal’s $0.31 per share payout is on top of a special dividend of $0.50 per share in January and helped offset earnings of $401m (£262.7m) falling short of an average forecast of $435m from analysts.

Nesis said the extra payout would give Polymetal shares a sector-leading yield combined with the group’s solid growth profile.

Net earnings were negatively affected by one-off tax provisions for 2012 and prior years, Polymetal said. Its revenue rose 40 per cent to $1.85bn.

Its shares closed at 882p.