Ruspetro shares start lower

David Hellier
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SHARES in Ruspetro, the first company to brave a main market listing in London this year, opened at a small discount to their issue price in conditional dealings yesterday.

The oil and gas exploration group with assets in western Siberia priced its shares at the bottom of the range at 134p earlier in the week, but saw the price come off to 125p on the first day of trading.

Despite the fall, analysts reckon the fact that Ruspetro’s IPO took off at all is positive news for what has been a moribund new issues market.

Advisers to the IPO, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mirabaud Securities and Renaissance Capital, started the marketing campaign before Christmas but quietly got into gear in the new year.

Ruspetro is raising £163m, with 40 per cent of its shares owned by independent shareholders.

Sources close to the company said the majority of funds that had bought the issue, which includes Henderson Global Investors and Schroder Investment Management, were in for the long term. “The main holders are very happy,” said a source. Ruspetro chief executive Donald Wolcott (pictured) said: “I am extremely proud that Ruspetro has completed a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange at this time.”

The company produces 4,500 barrels of oil a day and is chaired by Christopher Clark, also chairman of Severstal, Russia’s second-biggest steelmaker. The IPO is the first major London listing since Ophir Energy in July last year.