The reception area of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. File picture: Leon Nicholas

Moscow - Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium Ltd. rose the most in more than two months after saying it’s in discussions with new bidders to buy an 85 percent stake in the South African unit of Russia’s largest steelmaker.

The stock jumped 5.6 percent, the most since December 13, to 16.89 rand by 2:40 p.m. in Johannesburg.

More than 27,000 shares traded, or 2.1 times the three-month daily moving average volume.

Evraz Highveld said November 27 its $320 million sale of Evraz Plc’s controlling stake to Nemascore (Pty) Ltd., a group of black investors, would be concluded by the end of last year.

Hot-steel production at the Witbank, South Africa-based company fell 8 percent in the three months through December, it said January 15.

“The independent board of the company has agreed to allow these potential bidders to conduct a due diligence investigation,” Evraz Highveld said in a statement today.

The price that Nemascore agreed to pay “always looked high,” Kirill Chuyko, BCS Financial Group’s head of equity research, said by phone from Moscow today.

“It’s not a big surprise that it may not be closed.”

Evraz Highveld has dropped 0.6 percent this year, compared with a 2.5 percent advance in the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index.

Evraz Plc’s shares fell 27 percent in London in 2014. - Bloomberg News