- Peter Hambro, dubbed ‘Goldfinger’, founded the London-listed firm 24 years ago
- The 73-year-old was ousted as chairman last summer but remains a shareholder
- Hambro said he would vote to support activist investors seeking to sack the entire board
The founder of gold mining firm Petropavlovsk is backing investors who want to stage a boardroom coup.
Peter Hambro, dubbed ‘Goldfinger’ in the City, founded the London-listed firm 24 years ago. The 73-year-old was ousted as chairman last summer but remains a shareholder.
Hambro said he would vote to support activist investors seeking to sack the entire board and rehire three former directors.
The founder of gold mining firm Petropavlovsk is backing investors who want to stage a boardroom coup
They want to reinstate co-founder and former chief executive Pavel Maslovskiy, Robert Jenkins and Sir Roderic Lyne, who they want as chairman. They do not suggest rehiring Hambro himself.
The rebels include a former Kazakh defence minister’s son-in-law, Kenges Rakishev, who is the largest shareholder with a 22.4 per cent stake, and two firms, Cabs Platform and Slevin. Together they own 31.5 per cent of Petropavlovsk.
Petropavlovsk runs three mines in Russia’s far eastern Amur region. Its share price has crashed from 273p to 8.2p since 2012, triggered by the collapse in the gold price. Its market value is now £275 million. Hambro said: ‘I had a holding worth a huge sum, but it evaporated.’
The new board, led by ex-BHP Billiton executive Ian Ashby and Chelsea Football Club chairman Bruce Buck, took control after last summer’s annual meeting, with the two sides set for a new showdown at this year’s meeting on June 29.
Ashby said the new managers had ‘general support’ having rescued the firm from ‘severe jeopardy’. Sothic Capital, the second-biggest investor with a 10.9 per cent stake, said the board’s defenestration would ‘squander’ the firm’s turnaround potential.
The board has accused Cabs Platform and Slevin of concealing the identity of their ultimate owners in layers of offshore shell companies. Last week, it asked the Financial Conduct Authority to investigate.
‘It’s like Russian dolls,’ said Ashby.