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Norilsk Nickel's gold-mining company valued at $4.4 billion

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KRASNOYARSK, January 11 (RIA Novosti, Lyudmila Zabortseva) - Investment company Finam has valued Polyus Zoloto, a gold mining company owned by Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel, at $4.4 billion ($20.4 per share), the Finam press office said.

Polyus Zoloto intends to float on the Russian Trading System stock exchange and the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange in March-April, and on western trading floors in May 2006.

According to analysts' estimates, the free float should amount to 40% of the company's stock.

Polyus Zoloto is the largest gold mining company in Russia, accounting for around 20% of the country's gold output. The firm's gold output in 2004 was around 33.75 metric tons, but that figure is expected to rise to about 100 mt/yr by 2010, making the company one of the world's top five producers of the metal.

The company's assets include gold fields in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Magadan Region of Russia's Far East and the Irkutsk Region in Eastern Siberia.

Norilsk Nickel shareholders voted at a meeting on September 30, 2005 to form Polyus Zoloto by divesting Norilsk's gold-mining assets - held through a closed joint-stock company called Polyus - into a separate legal entity. The remaining 60% of shares in Polyus Zoloto will be distributed proportionately among Norilsk Nickel shareholders.

Polyus is expecting to reveal a net profit of around $85 million for 2005 - up from just under $8mln in 2004. Revenues are expected to weigh in at $479.6mln, up by around 8.6% from the previous year.

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