April 24, 2018 / 9:46 AM / 5 months ago

Chaarat Gold offers to buy Centerra's Kyrgyz mine

ALMATY, April 24 (Reuters) - London-listed Chaarat Gold Holdings (CGH) offered on Tuesday to buy Kyrgyzstan's largest gold mine, Kumtor, from Canada's Centerra Gold for an undisclosed cash sum, in a deal that would also involve Kyrgyz state firm Kyrgyzaltyn.

Centerra and Kyrgyzstan have had a series of disputes over sharing profits from Kumtor, and Chaarat said it was offering the Central Asian nation to increase its stake in the project's cash flow in the three-way deal.

Under the proposal, Chaarat and Kyrgyzaltyn would acquire Kumtor from Centerra. Chaarat would then operate the mine, while Kyrgyzaltyn would own Kumtor's preferred equity and be entitled to "50 percent of the economic benefits" of Kumtor.

Chaarat said it would fund its portion of the consideration with cash, and Kyrgyzaltyn - subject to the Kyrgyz government's approval - would transfer most of the shares it currently holds in Centerra back to Centerra.

Chaarat said it planned debt and equity financing for the deal and had the backing of "two major international financial institutions".

Under its current arrangement with Centerra, Kyrgyzstan owns a 26.6 percent stake in the Canadian company, the biggest foreign investor and taxpayer in the former Soviet republic, contributing up to 10 percent of its gross domestic product. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Mark Potter)

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