In the afternoon of September 6, five of the largest Russian companies traded on the stock exchange were reshuffled: unexpectedly, the fourth place from the fifth line moved Novatek, surpassing the capitalization of Gazprom. Shares of the gas company jumped to 1,176 rubles apiece, and its value exceeded 3.49 trillion rubles. Trades today closed at around 1167 rubles. Yesterday, one share of Novatek at the close of the exchange was worth 1120 rubles. Thus, from the beginning of 2018 the shares of Novatek, co-owned by billionaires, grew in price from 700 rubles apiece - that is, by 66%.
Both ordinary shareholders and the main beneficiaries of Novatek, Leonid Mikhelson (24.8% of shares) and Gennady Timchenko (23.5%) turned out to be winners in this situation. According to Forbes estimates, due to this jump, Mikhelson's fortune increased by $ 706 million, from $ 20.966 billion (as of yesterday) to $ 21.672 billion, and Timchenko's fortune - by $ 668 million, from $ 18.984 billion (as of yesterday) to $ 19.652 billion. In April, Forbes estimated the state of Michelson and Timchenko at $ 18 billion and $ 16 billion, respectively.
The growth of quotations is conditioned by a whole set of factors, says Georgy Vaschenko, the head of operations at the Russian stock market of the IR Fridom Finance. He reminds that at the end of 2017 Novatek presented investors with a new strategy of the company, in which the gas giant plans to double gas production from 2018 to 2030 - from 63.3 billion cubic meters. m to 126 billion cubic meters. m.
"The plans did not take long, and in the first quarter of 2018 the company managed to reverse the negative dynamics of gas production, showing an increase of 2.2%, which increased to 3.4% in the first half of 2018 amid the launch of the first stage of the plant Yamal LNG at the end of 2017, as well as the purchase of gas assets of Alrosa, "the expert explains.
The news that Novatek and Total agreed on the entry of the French company into the capital of the Arctic LNG-2 project also positively influenced the share price, as a result of which Total will receive 10% and the opportunity to increase its stake to 15%. In addition, an additional impetus for Novatek's shares was the launch of the second stage of Yamal LNG ahead of schedule, Vashchenko continues.
The company's successes were also reflected in the financial statements: according to the results of the first half of 2018 EBITDA of Novatek increased by 28%, to 125 billion rubles. This served as a driver for the announcement of Novatek's presidency about a new dividend policy that could be adopted on the horizon of a year and a half and involves an increase in payments to shareholders from the current rate of 30% of the normalized net profit under IFRS. As far as dividends are increased, it is still unknown, but it can be assumed that this is about 35% of IFRS net profit, the Forbes source says.
"Taking into account all the above factors, the company's shares continue the price rally and, probably, have a further growth potential of 10-15%, up to 1,250 rubles. An additional positive factor can be the fact that Novatek has all the chances to take the fourth place in the MSCI Russia 10/40 index following the November rebalancing, having ousted from it, for example, Sberbank, which has lost significantly in capitalization amid new potential sanctions " , - concludes Vashchenko.
Otherwise, good news for Novatek shareholders does not end there. On the eve, on September 6, it became known that the company had started construction of the fourth production line of Yamal LNG. It is planned that it will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2019.