HomeBusinessFTSE ban for Russian firms Evraz, Petropavlovsk, Polymetal and Raven

FTSE ban for Russian firms Evraz, Petropavlovsk, Polymetal and Raven


FTSE boots out four Russian firms: Evraz, Petropavlovsk, Polymetal and property group Raven set to be barred from end of the week

Four Russia-linked companies including a steel group backed by Roman Abramovich have been ejected from FTSE indices.

Evraz, Petropavlovsk, Polymetal International and property group Raven – set up by British entrepreneur Anton Bilton – will be barred from holding positions on the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, FTSE 350 and FTSE All-Share Index from the end of this week.

The move is a blow for the four businesses as many investment funds track these indices and membership affords an air of respectability.

Banned: Steel maker Evraz – where Roman Abramovich (pictured) holds the biggest stake – is among four Russian firms set to be barred from the FTSE from the end of the week

But critics said the move did not go far enough as the shares are still listed on the stock market in London despite their exclusion from the indices.

While shares in Evraz – where Chelsea owner Abramovich holds the biggest stake – are suspended, trading continues in the other companies.

And one of the companies, FTSE 100-listed Polymetal, said the expulsion will have no effect whatsoever. 

A spokesman for the gold miner said: ‘The recent exclusion of Polymetal shares from the series of FTSE equity indices does not impact the company’s listing on the London Stock Exchange. Trading of Polymetal shares on LSE continues.’

FTSE Russell, the company behind the indices, said the decision was taken after brokers refused to trade the shares of Russian-linked companies. 

But the announcement was met with calls for the authorities to go even further and expel firms linked to Russia or close to the Kremlin from the LSE altogether.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and financier-turned-campaigner Bill Browder want to see Russian companies booted off the UK stock market for good.

Tom Keatinge, director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at think-tank Rusi, said: ‘In terms of practicalities, we need to make sure we are following the rule of law. 

‘But if the aim is to put massive economic sanctions on the Russian economy, then we need to do the very maximum – which means we’ll do things we’ve never done before.’

Neil Wilson, analyst at Markets, added: ‘This is all just posturing. Let’s kick them out and show we are serious.’

Shares have been suspended in more than 30 Russia or oligarch-linked firms. But regulators and the Foreign Office have been slammed for still allowing them to stay listed on the LSE.

Critics said the lack of intervention showed the UK’s sanctions regime is a ‘shambles’. Although the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is in charge of the ‘Official List’ of companies on the LSE, the regulator says it will only take guidance on delisting from the Foreign Office, which is overseeing sanctions.

The UK has slapped sanctions on oligarchs such as Oleg Deripaska and Abramovich. But no plans have been announced around listings.

This leaves firms potentially propping up President Putin on one of the world’s most prestigious stock markets.

The lack of action comes even after Chancellor Rishi Sunak urged on Sunday for British businesses to ‘think very carefully’ about any investments that would support Putin’s barbaric regime.

MP Liam Byrne, who is a member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was ‘absolutely crucial’ to remove Russian firms from the LSE, adding that UK officials are ‘miles behind’ other countries when it comes to preparing sanctions. 

He said: ‘The fact we haven’t done it is further evidence of the shambles at the heart of Britain’s sanctioning strategy. The Foreign Office is in disarray.’

Blow for British property tycoon 

LONDON - JUNE 04: Anton Bilton and Lisa B attend the private view of Royal Academy of the Arts 'Summer Exhibition', at the Royal Academy of the Arts on June 4, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

Russian links: Raven Property founder Anton Bilton with wife Lisa B

The decision to expel Raven Property from the FTSE All-Share and FTSE UK Small Cap piles pressure on its founder Anton Bilton and the board of directors.

The company, which owns warehouses in Moscow and St Petersburg in Russia, was set up in 2005 by British property tycoon Bilton, who is married to American model and actress Lisa B.

The 57-year-old entrepreneur is executive deputy chairman and the fifth largest shareholder with a stake of nearly 7.2 per cent.

Bilton was also linked to disgraced fund manager Neil Woodford, who held a large stake in Raven before the collapse of his flagship Equity Income fund in 2019.

Raven’s chief executive Glyn Hirsch, who co-founded the company alongside Bilton, was also an associate of Woodford prior to his fall from grace. 

Both men were involved with Belasko, a firm that helped Woodford controversially list several companies on Guernsey’s International Stock Exchange prior to the collapse of his fund.

Another notable name on the Raven board is chairman Sir Richard Jewson, the former managing director of Jewson builders merchants. 

He also led estate agent Savills from 1994 to 2004 and last year stepped down as chairman of property investment trust Tritax Big Box.

It is thought that the status of the company’s board members is under discussion as it rushes to adapt to sanctions slapped on Russia following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The war has already taken a heavy toll on Raven’s share price, which has lost more than 80 per cent of its value so far this year amid frantic selling of Russia-focused firms.

The slump has also wiped £11.3million off Bilton’s fortune.

 

 

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