Kinross Gold aims to sell Russian business

Shares gain in Kinross as it signals an exit from sanctions-hit Russia but details scant.

Kinross Gold sees Russian exit

Kinross Gold sees Russian exit

Toronto and New York-listed Kinross Gold did not say who the potential buyer of its Russian assets could be but highlighted that any transaction would have to be approved by the Russian government. 

"Kinross has received a number of unsolicited proposals regarding its Russian business and is now in exclusive negotiations with a third-party mining company regarding a potential sale of 100% of its assets in the country," the firm said in a statement issued on March 29. 

Shares in Kinross on the Toronto Stock Exchange gained 2.86% or C$0.20 to C$7.19 on the news of a potential suitor and a likely exit from Russia. 

The firm on March 2 said it would "balance risk" relating to its holdings in the country.

Kinross did not detail how current or any future international sanctions against Russia could complicate the proposed transaction or how any unsolicited bid would be funded. 

Neither did Kinross indicate any likely financial value attached to any deal. 

Leading foreign investors in Russia, such as oil firms BP, who have exited the country in the wake of sanctions against Russia have already accounted for sharp financial losses in the value of their once held Russian assets. 

Kinross was forced to suspend commercial operations at its Kupol mine and Udinsk development in the far east of Russia at the start of this month because of international sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. 

The firm's Russian subsidiaries are continuing to operate during the "transition period", Kinross said in its latest statement.

This included overseeing monitoring systems and transporting industrial materials to the Kupol mine that are not permitted to remain at port to maintain safety and regulatory compliance. 

The firm also said it would continue to prioritize the well-being of its more than 2,000 employees in the country as it develops its transition plan. 

But any revenues from these activities will not be transferred to the Canadian-based firm.

"The parent company will not benefit financially from the operations while the transition plan is finalized," it said.  

"Current activities will be funded through resources already in-country [Russia], with no additional investment required by the parent company." 

Kinross expects to treat its Russian business as an asset held for sale from an accounting perspective until a change of control is completed, it said. 

The Kuipol mine in the Chukotka region is guided to produce 350,000 ounces gold-equivalent in 2022 at a cost of sales of US$870/oz AuEq. That would account for 13% of Kinross' total 2022 guidance of 2.65 million ounces AuEq.  

Russia represented 11% of Kinross' net asset value - Kupol accounted for 5% and Udinsk 6%, according to analysts at BMO.

Firms, including Rio Tinto, have severed links with Russian businesses since the invasion. Canada has been a strong supporter of international sanctions against Russia.

Kinross is scheduled to release its first quarter 2022 results on May 11.

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