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London Stock Exchange blocks 27 companies with Russian ties

 London Stock Exchange People walk past the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
London Stock Exchange says Russia sanctions have minimal impact on business.Photo:Peter Nicholls/Reuters

The London Stock Exchange (LSEG.L) has suspended trading in 27 more companies with strong links to Russia.

Trading in energy giants such as Lukoil (LKOH.L), Gazprom (OGZD.L), EN+ (ENPL.L), and Rosneft (ROSN.L) has been suspended, as it has in the Russian bank Sberbank (SBER.L), Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK.L), and Polyus (PLZL.L).

On Friday, the LSE suspended VTB Capital (VTBR.L), a subsidiary of Russia’s second-largest bank VTB, from trading, bringing the total number of companies suspended to 28.

Read more: H&M suspends sales in Russia

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) said it was blocking trading in the companies “in light of market conditions, and in order to maintain orderly markets”. It follows similar moves by German and US stock exchanges.

LSE said that applying financial sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine would have only a minor impact on its business.

Its operations in Russia and Ukraine account for less than 1% of total income, which hit £6.8bn ($9.1bn) in 2021.

"We are actively engaging with regulators and authorities on all relevant sanctions and taking appropriate actions. LSEG's operations in Russia and Ukraine account for less than one per cent of total income," the exchange said in a statement.

The group also announced that Russia will be removed from some of the international indices run by its FTSE Russell division from the open of trading on 7 March.

Read more: How economic sanctions work

Around £430bn has been wiped off the London-listed shares of Russian firms in the last two weeks alone as western sanctions bite, while the Moscow Exchange (MOEX.ME) has remained shuttered since Monday.

LSE reported an almost doubling of pre-tax profits from £492m in pandemic-hit 2020 to £987m last year. Total income more than tripled year-on-year from £2bn to £6.4bn.

"LSEG has delivered a successful first year after completion of the Refinitiv acquisition. We have produced a strong financial performance, have met or are ahead of all targets and have good momentum into 2022," LSE CEO David Schwimmer said.

Meanwhile, shares in quoted UK domiciled companies listed on the London Stock Exchange were worth a total of £2.17tn at the end of 2020, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed this Thursday.

The proportion of UK shares held in the rest of the world increased again to set a record high, at 56.3% of the value of the UK stock market.

Insurance companies’ share of the market continued to fall and stood at 2.5%, down 1.4 percentage points from 2018, the ONS said.

Watch: What are SPACs?