13 Apr 2022 15:12

Polymetal postpones decision on financial dividends for 2021 until Aug

MOSCOW. April 13 (Interfax) - The board of directors of Polymetal , Russia's largest silver producer and one of the country's biggest gold miners, has decided to postpone its decision on final dividends for 2021 until August, when interim dividends will be considered, the company said.

The 2021 final dividend payment was due to be put to shareholders for approval at the annual general meeting on April 25, 2022, but after reviewing the "significant changes in operating conditions that the Group has encountered in the last few weeks" the board "concluded that it is no longer appropriate to recommend or declare the 2021 final dividend payment," Polymetal said.

The company cited mounting uncertainty with availability of funds due to sanctions on Russian banks and the economy, higher working capital needs as a result of a liquidity crunch and supply chain limitations, and balance sheet constraints imposed by lower credit availability as well as significantly higher costs of funding.

Initially, the Polymetal board, according to the dividend policy, proposed payment of a final dividend for 2021 in the amount of $0.52 per share for a total of $246 million. The resolution in respect of the 2021 final dividend payment that was due to be put to shareholders for approval at the annual general meeting (AGM) on 25 April 2022 will therefore be withdrawn accordingly.

"We have thoroughly re-evaluated the board's March recommendation on dividends taking into account recent changes in macro and regulatory environment and unanimously have come to a conclusion that the payment decision should be postponed in order to sustain the stability and liquidity of the business. We will continue to monitor the operating, funding and regulatory conditions in which the business operates, hoping that stability is restored, improving visibility which would allow us to return to our cash distribution policy", board chairman Riccardo Orcel was quoted as saying in the statement.

The largest shareholders of Polymetal are the ICT Group of Alexander Nesis and partners (about 24%) and BlackRock funds (about 10%).