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Polyus forecasts 2017 CapEx of US$800M, spending ramp-up in H2

PJSC Polyus will increase its CapEx spending in the second half of 2017 as it channels more funds into bringing the Natalka project online by the end of the year, said Mikhail Stiskin, senior vice president for finance and strategy.

"We expect a definite acceleration of CapEx in H2. We will not give an exact breakdown according to assets, but total CapEx for the year will be around US$800 million," he said on a conference call Aug. 14, adding that this figure excluded M&A and any payments for the Sukhoi Log deposit.

He added that if the Russian ruble weakens further toward the end of the year, it will only count in the company's favor. CapEx for the first half of 2017 amounted to US$322 million, up from US$186 million a year ago.

Polyus' board of directors recommended a dividend payout of for the first half of 2017 of US$229 million, or about US$1.73 per share, or 87 cents per depository share.

Commenting on the company's offering earlier in the year on the London and Moscow stock exchanges, Stiskin said US$400 million of the money raised would go toward paying off a number of credit lines.

Polyus is Russia's largest gold producer and produced 488,000 ounces in the second quarter, up by 7% in the year-ago period. The company also booked a yearly rise in gold sales to US$617 million from US$564 million.