PJSC Uralkali (LSE: URKA; “the Company”), one of the world’s largest potash producers, announces that on November 23, 2015, the Company’s Board of Directors approved the application to the United Kingdom Listing Authority and the London Stock Exchange (“LSE”) to cancel the listing and admission to trading of the Regulation S and Rule 144A Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) (CUSIP: 91688E206 and 91688E107, respectively, ISIN: US91688E2063 and US91688E1073, respectively), each representing 5 ordinary shares of the Company (“Shares”). As previously announced, the Board of Directors determined on 24 August 2015 that maintaining a listing of GDRs was no longer a strategic priority for the Company. Given the low liquidity in the GDRs on the LSE and the decline in the GDR free float (excluding GDRs held by the Company’s major shareholders and subsidiaries) to below 3.5% of the Company’s share capital, the Board of Directors approved the delisting of GDRs from LSE. It is expected that the delisting will become effective on December 22, 2015.
It is the Company’s intention to delist both Regulations S GDRs and Rule 144A GDRs. Due to a very small size of the Rule 144A GDR programme, after the delisting the Company intends to terminate it. It is currently anticipated that the Rule 144A GDR programme will terminate on January 12, 2016. Under the Amended and Restated Deposit Agreement, dated August 25, 2015 (the “Deposit Agreement”), between the Company and The Bank of New York Mellon, as depositary (the “Depositary”), which will become effective on November 26, 2015, the GDR holders will be notified of the termination by the Depositary 30 calendar days in advance of the termination. In that
Although the Regulation S GDR programme is expected to remain in place following the delisting of the GDRs, holders of Regulation S GDRs will no longer be able to trade their GDRs on the LSE and will not be able to obtain market quotations for the GDRs. Subject to the terms and conditions of the Deposit Agreement, including the payment of withdrawal fees of $0.05 per GDR, holders of the Regulation S GDRs may cancel their GDRs and receive underlying Shares which are listed on the Moscow Exchange. In the event the free float of the Shares on the Moscow Exchange falls below 10%, the Company will no longer comply with the free-float requirement for the Level 1 quotation list, in which case the Moscow Exchange may downgrade the listing of the Shares from Level 1 to Level 3.
On November 23, 2015, the Audit Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors, having considered the interests of minority shareholders of the Company in light of the decreasing GDR liquidity and free float, unanimously recommended to adopt an open market buyback programme in order to provide to holders of the Company’s Shares and GDRs an opportunity to sell their securities.
On November 23, 2015, the Company’s Board of Directors approved an open market buyback programme in respect of Shares and GDRs (the “Buyback Programme”). Shares and GDRs to be acquired under the Buyback Programme will not exceed in the aggregate 6.5% of the Company’s share capital. The Buyback Programme will commence on November 24, 2015 and is expected to expire on March 31, 2016, unless extended or terminated by the Company earlier.
Purchases of Shares and GDRs pursuant to the Buyback Programme will be conducted by Renaissance Capital and\or its affiliates to be engaged by one or two wholly owned subsidiaries of Uralkali (the “Purchasers”).
Until the GDR delisting, purchases of GDRs may be conducted on the LSE and over-the-counter at prevailing market prices at the time of purchase. It is expected that purchases of GDRs on the LSE in any one day will not exceed 174,438 GDRs, which represents 25% of the average daily volume of GDRs in October 2015. GDRs may also be purchased at any time in privately negotiated transactions, including option agreements. At any time, subject to the terms and conditions of the Deposit Agreement, including the payment of withdrawal fees, holders of GDRs may cancel their GDRs and receive underlying Shares which are listed on the Moscow Exchange.
Purchases of Shares may be conducted on the Moscow Exchange and over-the-counter and in privately negotiated transactions, including option agreements.
The Purchasers do not intend to acquire, alone or together with their affiliates, more than 30% of the Shares as a result of the Buyback Programme and, therefore, will not be required to make a mandatory tender offer for the Shares under Russian law.
It is the Company’s intention ultimately to effect the cancellation of the securities acquired in the Buyback Programme.
Uralkali (www.uralkali.com) is one of the world’s largest potash producers and exporters. The Company’s assets consist of 5 mines and 7 ore-treatment mills situated in the towns of Berezniki and Solikamsk (Perm Region, Russia). Uralkali employs ca.11,000 people (in the main production unit). Uralkali’s shares and GDRs are traded on the Moscow Exchange and London Stock Exchange, respectively.