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Peter Hambro

Peter Hambro
Based in London
Active in Russia
Targeted gold

Peter Hambro is a scion of the Hambro merchant banking dynasty, who found a calling beyond his immediate family, when he joined the bullion bank, Mocatta and Goldsmid, then moved into commodities and mining finance.

He became renowed in London's City soon after he founded Petropavlovsk in 1994, along with Russian business partner, Pavel Maslovsky. (Rather confusingly, this company wasn't bent on exploiting Russian oil but Russian gold. Its title was coined from the names of the founders).

In 2002 - by then known as Peter Hambro Mining - Petropavlovsk launched itself on London's AIM, soon becoming the most highly-valued of the alternative market's members, with a turnover of $23 million a year on fewer than 100,000 ounces of gold production.

However, as the gold tide has turned in the past two years, Hambro's fortunes began to slide, and the Financial Times reported in November 2014 that he was "fighting for survival" [FT 5 November 2014].

One of the solutions being floated to revive his enterprise was a "potential rescue bid by German, South Africa and Russian businessmen" [FT ibid]. It was reported that a former "lieutenant" of Oleg Deripaska was among this colourful cast" [MJ 7 November 2014].

This did not apear to have attracted support from UK investors, however, given the new "cold war" between Russia and the European Union, following the former's invasion of eastern Ukraine and its takeover of Crimea earlier in the year.

In December 2014, Petropavlovsk announced a share rights issue, aimed at attracting US$235 in new financing, along with the launching of a new US$ 100 million convertible bond [MJ 12 December 2014].

By March 2015, the company's net debt still stood at US$707 million. A month later, Numis Securities' mining team, while commenting that there was "still a mountain to climb to remove the debt overhang", said that the 2014 results showed an "improvement" in Petropavlovsk's performance [CityAM 30 April 2015].

A year later, Hambro announced that, not only had Petropavlovsk obtained financing to complete a pressure oxidation hub (POX) which was abandoned in 2013, and thus could now process gold reserves from its Malmor and Pioneer mines; it was also "pushing ahead" with a plan to acquire another Russian gold producer, Amur Zoloto [Investors Chronicle, 6-12 May 2016].