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Steelmaker MMK to List on 2 Exchanges

Shares of Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works, or MMK, will start trading on Russia's two main bourses by the end of this year, a move analysts labeled as a step toward company liquidity and a set-up for an IPO abroad.

"MMK shares will be listed on the RTS before the New Year," Zoya Konovkova, spokeswoman for the Moscow-based RTS bourse, said Friday.

The third-largest steelmaker has also asked the ruble-denominated MICEX to allow MMK's shares to be included in the bourse's unlisted section, with a possible transfer to the listed section in a few months, said Leonid Savvinov, head of the listings department at the MICEX.

Managed and partly owned by Russia's 11th-richest man, Victor Rashnikov, whose fortune Forbes estimates at $3.6 billion, MMK had previously strongly resisted any public trading of its shares.

Tim McCutcheon, an analyst with Aton brokerage, said the firm's management probably gained confidence in the stock market after solidifying majority control by purchasing the state's 33.8 percent stake in MMK a year ago.

However, with only up to 2 percent of MMK's shares left available for outside investors, the chances that listings on the MICEX and the RTS will generate much trading are slim, he said.

"The company needs to issue new shares or the management need to offer some of their stakes on the market. For all intents and purposes, MMK is a private company," he said.

A more likely interpretation of MMK's decision to list would be to placate the domestic securities market watchdog before placing a large amount of stock in London, as was the case with Mechel and Sistema, McCutcheon said.

(The Moscow Times 19.xii.05)

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