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By John Helmer, Moscow

An attempt by Siberian Anthracite, a little known Russian coal producer, to list and sell its shares on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) collapsed today, just hours after Reuters reported the sale was going ahead. According to the report from the Reuters Moscow Bureau, the initial public offering “has been subscribed by more than 50 percent, two market sources said on Thursday. Sibanthracite set a price range earlier in July of between $7.00 and $9.50 per global depositary receipt (GDR) for the share issue. The order book is expected to be closed later on Thursday, with final pricing announced on Friday.” No reporter byline was published with the despatch.

The Reuters claim intimated that the Russian company would start with a market capitalization on the LSE of about $850 million. Four banks were the promoters — JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Raiffeisen Bank International, and Sberbank.

In fact, London market sources report, the share sale attempt was not taken seriously from the start, principally because of the refusal by the controlling shareholders of Siberian Anthracite (SibAnthracite) to release their prospectus, and to identify themselves and their plan for the company’s future. In addition, what was portrayed publicly as an IPO was an attempt by London-based hedge fund GLG, and its Emerging Markets Growth Fund, to dispose of its 25% stake without explaining why. The remaining shares are owned by Dmitry Bosov (image 2nd from right) and his associates. An analysis of the attempt at IPO was reported here on June 20.

This morning at 11:44 London time the London Stock Exchange’s Regulatory News Service carried this announcement: “SIBANTHRACITE PLC POSTPONES IPO. Sibanthracite PLC (“Sibanthracite” or the “Company”), one of the world’s largest producers of Ultra-High Grade (“UHG”) anthracite, today announces that it has decided to postpone its Initial Public Offering. Following the international investor roadshow, Sibanthracite attracted significant interest and positive feedback on the Company, its equity story and management, and the offering raised demand from a number of high quality institutional investors from various regions. However, current market conditions and investor sentiment towards the global mining sector led to the decision to postpone.”

The notice is signed for Sibanthracite by Maria Grigorieva. She was then asked by telephone for a copy of the prospectus. She replied: “No comment”. She was asked to confirm details of the withdrawal from the listing attempt. She replied: “No comment.”

A senior management source at Reuters was asked to explain how the Moscow news bureau could have failed to detect the news. He responded: “Reuters sources [are] annoyed with the matter.”

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