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Russian tycoon's investment group ICT sells Polymetal stake to Omani-owned consortium

FILE PHOTO: Small toy figure and gold imitation are seen in front of the Polymetal logo in this illustration

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Investment company ICT Holding, owned by Russian businessman Alexander Nesis, has sold its 23.9% stake in gold and silver producer Polymetal International to a consortium led by the Omani government, Polymetal said in a statement on Monday.

Polymetal International is seeking to sell its Russian assets, which were sanctioned by the U.S. in 2023 in response to Moscow sending troops into Ukraine in February 2022. Polymetal, founded by Nesis' ICT Group in 1998, is one of the world's top ten gold miners and owns production assets across Russia and Kazakhstan.

A consortium of Omani investors, led by the Omani government-owned fund Mercury Investments International, acquired 113,201,189 shares through Mercury's subsidiary Maaden International Investment, Polymetal International said.

The consortium, led by Maaden, acquired shares from ICT Holding's subsidiary Powerboom Investments Limited, Polymetal International said.

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As a result of the deal, ICT Holding is no longer a Polymetal shareholder, and ICT representative Konstantin Yanakov has resigned from Polymetal's board of directors, Polymetal said. The company expects the buyer to nominate a candidate to the board in due course.

The value of the transaction was not disclosed. Polymetal's market capitalisation stood at $2.6 billion as of Monday.

Vitaly Nesis, Group CEO of Polymetal International, said Mercury Investments International fully supported Polymetal's strategy.

"(This) includes de-risking the company's business by disposing its Russian operation and further developing its asset base in Kazakhstan and the wider region," he said.

In August, he had said the company planned to sell its Russian assets within six to nine months.

Polymetal International re-domiciled to Kazakhstan from Jersey in August and listed on the Central Asian nation's Astana International Exchange (AIX), after U.S. sanctions complicated corporate restructuring plans.

ICT Group had been Polymetal's largest shareholder. According to the company's website, U.S. fund BlackRock owns 9.9%, a company called Fodina BV holds a 3.3% stake and managers and directors own 0.9%.

(Reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Jamie Freed and Bernadette Baum)