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Report: Chinese investors back out of protracted takeover of Russia's GV Gold

A consortium of Chinese investors led by conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. abandoned its attempt to acquire GV Gold, one of Russia's largest gold mining companies, RBC reported Jan. 17, citing three anonymous sources familiar with the transaction, including one of the participants.

The takeover bid fell apart because the parties could not come to terms over pricing, while gold has risen considerably since talks started, according to the Russian media group.

The potential offer was said to value GV Gold, also known as Vysochaishy, at about US$1 billion when it came to light in June 2019, though RBC's sources thought the valuation too high.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service initially confirmed that the transaction would not require approval from the Russian government's foreign investment commission. However, it subsequently transpired that the bid would need the commission's assent, delaying the process.

Another of RBC's sources cited GV Gold's poor financial performance as a reason for the deal's disruption. The privately held company's net profit under Russian accounting standards shrank 24.6% year over year between January and September 2019 to 1.80 billion Russian rubles as revenue slumped 6.3% and costs burgeoned 37.7%, according to Russia's Union of Gold Producers.

It is not the first time Fosun has made an abortive foray into the Russian gold industry. In 2017, the Chinese conglomerate tried to buy a 15% interest in Russia's largest gold producer, PJSC Polyus, for US$1.4 billion.

Russian businessman Roman Trotsenko was also said to be interested in GV Gold, Kommersant reported in December 2019. Trotsenko bought a 22% interest in rival gold producer Petropavlovsk PLC in July 2019.

As of Jan. 16, US$1 was equivalent to 61.66 Russian rubles.