Fabergé owner Gemfields (GEM:AIM) has returned to AIM after an almost three year absence.

The gemstone miner left London’s junior market in July 2017 following an acrimonious takeover saga which culminated in it being taken off the market by South African private equity firm Pallinghurst.

But having cited a ‘lack of broker research and share trading liquidity, as well as feedback from shareholders’ in South Africa where it is listed, the company decided to return to AIM in a bid to access greater liquidity and more global investors.

The firm has a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and another listing on the Bermuda Stock Exchange.

LISTING TO GIVE INVESTORS ACCESS TO GEMSTONE MARKET

As well as owning the Fabergé jewellery brand, Gemfields - which has counted the likes of actress Mila Kunis as a ‘brand ambassador’ - produces around half of the world’s rubies and a fifth of the world’s emeralds from two of its mines in Mozambique and Zambia.

CEO Sean Gilbertson said, ‘Today’s admission to the London market is an important milestone for Gemfields after a decade of growth in the demand and prices for precious coloured gemstones.

READ MORE ABOUT GEMFIELDS HERE

‘The AIM listing seeks to provide UK, European and international investors with more expedient entry into the precious coloured gemstone market, to improve share trading liquidity and to widen Gemfields’ current investor base.’

GEMFIELDS RETURNS AFTER LOW-BALL TAKEOVER

Gemfields returns to the market around 30 months after being the subject of a bitter bidding war in which Pallinghurst won, though not without controversy after accusations that it acquired the company on the cheap.

Pallinghurst launched an unsolicited bid in 2017 for the 53% of Gemfields it didn’t own in an offer which contained no premium to Gemfield’s 39p share price at the time and valued the company at £211m.

Pallinghurst needed approval from investors owning at least 75% of the shares, but that approval wasn’t too difficult to gain as it already owned 47.09% of the business.

Minority investors weren’t best pleased with the outcome, arguing the firm was being sold on the cheap, especially considering stockbroker Numis said at the time that fair value for Gemfields would be 94p per share.

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Issue Date: 14 Feb 2020