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Polymetal payout in doubt after delay

AGM vote on dividend has been pushed back to August as a result of "liquidity crunch" driven by sanctions
Polymetal payout in doubt after delay

Investors have recently piled into Russian gold miner Polymetal (POLY) on the hopes that its dividend would still be paid out. That is now in doubt after the company announced it would not vote on the 52¢ (40p) per share payout at this month’s AGM, in order to “sustain the stability and liquidity of the business” 

Polymetal’s auditor resigned last week, and it has run into liquidity issues given the sanctions on the Russian financial system as well as very high interest rates on ruble-denominated borrowings. 

“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,” said new Polymetal chair Riccardo Orcel. 

Since the invasion, it has been one of the most heavily-traded shares in London, along with steelmaker Evraz (EVR), as both companies yields skyrocketed to 100 per cent at times. Evraz shares have been suspended since 10 March, when the UK government brought in sanctions on major shareholder Roman Abramovich. 

Polymetal’s shares fell 12 per cent on the dividend news. It is trading at a fifth of the value it was pre-invasion, but this month has traded more strongly on the hopes of both the dividend and a spinoff of Kazakh assets the company has confirmed is on the table. 

Hargreaves Lansdown revealed on Wednesday that Polymetal and fellow gold miner Petropavlovsk (POG) were among the top picks for its ISA users in the first week of the new tax year, alongside Barclays (BARC) and and British Airways owner IAG (IAG)