July 16, 2019 / 1:12 PM / 2 months ago

Kazakh tycoon sells Petropavlovsk stake to focus on battery minerals

* Petropavlovsk share price has doubled versus 5 pence low

* Plans Hong Kong listing for Kaznickel this year

* Roman Trotsenko becomes Petropavlovsk’s biggest shareholder

LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) - Kazakh entrepreneur Kenes Rakishev said on Tuesday he had sold his stake in gold miner Petropavlovsk to Russian billionaire Roman Trotsenko and would invest the proceeds in a cobalt and nickel project he aims to list in Hong Kong.

Rakishev bought his shares in late 2017 when he said Petropavlovsk was a distressed stock.

According to Refinitiv data, Petropavlovsk fell to a low of around 5 pence in October 2018 and was trading at close to 10 pence on Tuesday following Rakishev’s announcement he had sold his entire stake of 28.3%, including convertible bonds. The shares were up around 1.5% from Monday’s close at 9.8 pence by 1245 GMT.

The company’s stock rallied after a gold treatment project came online to boost production and cut costs. {nL8N1WD1HI]

Rakishev said he remained interested in gold as an investment prospect but was focusing for now on battery minerals and on developing cobalt-nickel deposits in Kazakhstan.

He is working on a Hong Kong listing before the end of the year that would sell off 25% of the equity to raise $260 million of the roughly $300 million he needs for the project.

Rakishev also said he had had discussions with diversified miner and trader Glencore on a possible supply deal. Glencore declined to comment.

“The decision to sell our stake was based purely on commercial reasons including funding requirements for some of our projects,” Rakishev said.

Trotsenko, now Petropavlovsk’s biggest shareholder, is the founder of AEON Corporation, a private company that invests in infrastructure, real estate and mining. He also owns Novaport, a major regional airport network.

“We are looking forward to being a significant shareholder in one of Russia’s leading gold producers and making our expertise available to the board,” Trotsenko said. (Reporting by Barbara Lewis in London and Polina Ivanova in Moscow, editing by Louise Heavens)

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