A group of rebel shareholders has succeeded in its bid to clear out the board of Russian gold miner Petropvalovsk (POG). Proposals to remove chairman Ian Ashby, chief executive Roman Deniskin, and directors Bruce Buck, Adrian Coates and Garrett Soden were tabled at last Friday’s (29 June) annual general meeting by investors CABS and Slevin, and backed by more than half of shareholders. In the board’s place, owners of the company narrowly voted through the return of former chief executive Dr Pavel Maslovskiy and ex-directors Sir Roderic Lyne and Mr Robert Jenkins.
The overhaul comes a year after a group of shareholders voted to remove directors and chairman Peter Hambro, who founded the company with Dr Maslovskiy. They were replaced with a board that appeared to lose the trust of workers at the POX hub, a key gold ore processing plant whose completion has become a critical step in the company’s future.
In addition to the 9 per cent of votes held by CABS and Slevin, the proposals received backing from Kazakh oligarch Kenges Rakishev, who acquired a 22 per cent stake in the group at the end of 2017. Mr Rakishev, who initially appeared to back the ousted board, sided with the requisitioning group ahead of the vote, concluding that only Dr Maslovskiy could successfully oversee the company’s operations.
In a statement following the vote, Mr Rakishev said the new board "is best placed to deliver the POX Hub, improve employee relations and realise value for all shareholders".
It is good that the new board is familiar with Petropavlovsk, because shareholders need assurances that this battle for control has been worth the distracting soap opera. This should start with a timeline for the POX Hub commissioning and the IRC financing, and some indication that employees are on board. Until this happens, the benefits heralded by CABS, Slevin et al remain intangible. Hold at 8.2p.
Last IC View: Hold, 8.2p, 20 Jun 2018