Russian IPOs pulled due to Egypt unrest

NORD GOLD, the gold mining unit of steel giant Severstal, has become the latest Russian firm to scrap plans for a London initial public offering (IPO).

The miner, led by billionaire Alexey Mordashov, is the latest casualty of the ongoing volatility in emerging markets, fuelled by unrest in Egypt.

Nord Gold had been seeking to raise up to $1bn (£622m) to pay down debt, yet sources close to the deal said last night it would be postponed.

It is the biggest of three aborted Russian IPOs, following steel pipe maker Chelpipe’s $688m attempt and coking coal producer Koks $500m effort.

Chelpipe yesterday blamed “unusual market sentiment” for the decision to pull its IPO altogether, whilst Koks last week postponed its listing as a result of “market conditions”.

The firms were hoping that emerging markets funds would become institutional shareholders, but investors pulled more than $7bn from such funds in the week to 2 February, largely due to unrest in Egypt.

Earlier this week, pump manufacturer HMS Hydraulic was forced to cut its price range in order to list in London.

It will now raise just $360m, as opposed to between $396m and $580m as originally planned.
Sources close to the Nord Gold, Chelpipe and Koks IPOs said the firms were unwilling to cut their list price in order to come to market.

A planned privatisation drive by the Russian government later this quarter will make it tougher still for the country’s corporations to list.

Head of research at Moscow-based Unicredit Securities Rustam Botashev said: “The government plan made Russian corporations look to tap the markets before it privatised companies.

“When the government comes to the market, it will be more difficult for Russian corporations to raise money.”