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Gold miner Polymetal postpones dividend decision amid sanctions on Russia

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FILE PHOTO: Small toy figure and gold imitation are seen in front of the Polymetal logo in this illustration
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(Reuters) - Russian gold and silver producer Polymetal has postponed a decision on its 2021 final dividend payment amid uncertainty caused by Western sanctions on Moscow for what Russia calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Several other Russian metals producers, including steel maker Severstal, have also delayed decisions on dividends as sanctions on Russian banks and its economy complicate trade logistics and the transfer of payments.

"We have thoroughly re-evaluated the Board's March recommendation on dividends, taking into account recent changes in the 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," Riccardo Orcel, Polymetal's board chairman, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company had on March 2 proposed a final dividend of $0.52 per share, or $246 million in total.

"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," Orcel added.

The decision on the 2021 final dividend payment, which was due to be put to shareholders for approval on April 25, is now postponed until August, the London-listed gold miner said.

Polymetal itself has not been targeted by Western sanctions, but those on Russian banks and the economy had created uncertainty over the availability of funds and caused higher costs of funding, while the liquidity crunch and supply chain limitations caused higher working capital needs, it added.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by David Holmes)

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