NorNickel gold mining arm Polyus Zoloto launches ADR program

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MOSCOW, July 11 (RIA Novosti) - Polyus Zoloto, a gold mining company divested from Russia's metals giant Norilsk Nickel [RTS:GMKN], said Tuesday it was launching a program of first-tier American Depositary Receipts for its common stock.

The company received approval for its ADR program from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission July 10, 2006. One ADR gives the right to one common share of Polyus Zoloto.

After the permission was received from the Federal Financial Market Service, 66,719,711 shares or 34.99% of the common stock of Polyus Zoloto can circulate outside Russia and be converted into ADRs.

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 precious metal.

The Bank of New York, with the assets of more than $103 billion, will be a depositary bank for the company's ADRs and ING Bank (Eurasia) will be a custodian bank for the Polyus Zoloto ADR program.

With The Bank of New York, the company plans to pursue a program for relations with investors to raise the liquidity of its shares and develop the secondary market of its stock and ADRs. ADRs issued for the shares of Polyus Zoloto will circulate on the U.S. over-the-counter market and subsequently on European markets.

The company's assets include gold fields in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk Territory, Irkutsk Region and Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), as well as the Magadan Region in the Far East.

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