INTERNATIONAL – Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich might not have been allowed back into the U.K. to watch his soccer team win the FA Cup last weekend, but his steelmaker is still making hay there.
Evraz Plc, in which he owns a 31 percent stake, is the best-performing stock on the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index this year, gaining 42 percent. What makes that surge even more remarkable is that the stock lost as much as 21 percent in a single day after sanctions were announced against fellow oligarch Oleg Deripaska in April.
Abramovich’s Chelsea Football Club beat archrival Manchester United 1-0 to win the English domestic title at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, but the tycoon wasn’t there to see it. According to people familiar with the situation, there were delays in renewing his investor’s visa.
Although the reason for the delay isn’t clear, it comes at a tense time in U.K.-Russian relations and may indicate the U.K. is growing tired of the rich, Kremlin-connected Russians like Abramovich who have made their second homes in Britain.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Evraz. Global steelmakers are enjoying the best market conditions in years. Demand in almost every major market is forecast to grow this year and Chinese exports, which were long a drag on the industry, are receding. At the same time, President Donald Trump’s threat of tariffs in the U.S. has caused prices to soar to the highest in years. Evraz has also won support from investors after committing to pay a regular dividend.
That’s all helped Abramovich add $1.2 billion to his fortune this year, lifting his total wealth to $13.7 billion.