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The bondholder treatment at the heart of the Petropavlovsk brawl

The battle for control of Petropavlovsk has been raging since the board and management were unexpectedly voted out at the AGM in June. But only now has it become clear the role a conversion of bonds may have played. At issue are allegations of unequal bondholder treatment.


For much of the year, the mining community has been entranced by a boardroom battle at London-listed Russian gold mining company Petropavlovsk, a clash that has involved the ousting of the founders, court disputes, a complaint to the Takeover Panel of the London Stock Exchange, the departure of auditors and the sight of a temporary CEO breaking into his own offices in Moscow.

It has now emerged that one of the key points of contention is a question about the treatment of convertible bondholders, a matter that may have impacted the question of control of the company and its assets. The allegations have come to light through witness statements seen by Euromoney in a separate interim relief claim before an employment tribunal.

Battle lines

First, the background.

Petropavlovsk was founded as Peter Hambro Mining in 1994 by Hambro himself and Pavel Maslovskiy.

It owns assets in the Russian Far East, specifically Amur Oblast, which borders China to the north of Heilongjiang.

Peter Hambro Co-Founder And Outgoing Executive Chairman Of Petropavlovsk Plc
Peter Hambro.

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Chris Wright head.jpg
Asia editor Euromoney
Chris Wright is Asia editor. He covers the Asia Pacific region and is based in Singapore. He has previously been Middle East editor of Euromoney, editor of Asiamoney, investment editor of the Australian Financial Review and a correspondent on emerging markets and sovereign wealth for numerous publications worldwide. He has also written two books.