Markets report: Boardroom strife takes shine off results for miner Petropavlovsk

Rachel Millard
·2-min read

Troubled gold miner Petropavlovsk dropped after saying it remains mired in legal and management battles following a shareholder coup in August that ousted its chief executive and several directors.

The FTSE 250 gold miner told the London Stock Exchange that its new interim chief executive, Maksim Meshcheryakov, continues to battle a “lack of co-operation” from a “very small number of senior employers and officers of the company’s subsidiaries”, who appeared to have been pressured to withhold information from the board and ignore some of its instructions.

Petropavlovsk, which operates three mines in Russia’s far east, was founded by Peter Hambro in 1994 and has regularly been rocked by power struggles among shareholders.

In half-year results to the end of June posted yesterday, the company announced a 42pc increase in gold produced, to 320,000 ounces, and a 71pc increase in revenue to $522.7m (£403m).

The FTSE 250 group dropped 0.75p to 26.7p, leaving it as one of the biggest fallers among London’s mid-cap companies.

European stocks extended their losses yesterday to mark a fifth consecutive day of drops – notching up its worst weekly performance since March.

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.1pc at 5,577.3 after a volatile session, with a strong performance for Royal Dutch Shell helping counterbalance widespread losses for London’s blue-chips.

The oil giant rose 30.7p to 929p after Barclays upgraded the group to an equal-weight rating, saying its newly presented framework addresses concerns about the group’s financial strategy.

Barclays’ analyst Lyda Rainforth said Shell should be able to meet its net debt level targets by the end of next year, with the potential for large shareholder payouts to follow.

Peer BP added 3.1p to 196.6p.

NatWest led FTSE 100 risers, climbing 7.1p to 124.2p, after it rounded out the third-quarter results season for London-listed lenders with expectation-beating £355m third-quarter profit.

Redburn’s Fahed Kunwar said NatWest’s mortgage performance had been “very strong”, and noted that the number of customers on payment holidays had “dropped substantially”.

British Airways owner IAG also rose strongly, climbing 5.4p to 96.4p, as analyst noted signs of strong pent-up demand.

Ad giant WPP’s shares rose 16.8p to 616.6p, climbing for the first time in five sessions as Berenberg analysts said the group’s shares remain “cheap” despite major market disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Elsewhere, among mid-caps, Vivo Energy rose 3.9p to 75.6p after profits returned to 2019 levels and the pan-African fuel and lubricants retailer and distributor declared an interim dividend.