No­rilsk sells $3.5 bil­lion stake to Trafigura

The Pak Banker - - Company & Boss News -

MOSCOW: OAO GMK No­rilsk Nickel, the min­ing com­pany whose largest hold­ers are locked in a dis­pute, agreed to sell $3.5 bil­lion of stock to com­modi­ties trader Trafigura Be­heer BV as an­a­lysts sig­naled a pos­si­ble end to the feud.

No­rilsk will sell an 8 per­cent stake in the form of Amer­i­can de­posi­tary re­ceipts to gain funds for "gen­eral pur­poses," the Moscow-based com­pany said yes­ter­day in a state­ment. Trafigura has no plans to in­crease its hold­ing to more than 10 per­cent, No­rilsk said.

Bil­lion­aire share­hold­ers Oleg Deri­paska and Vladimir Potanin have bick­ered over in­flu­ence on No­rilsk's board and use of cash in a feud dat­ing back to 2008. No­rilsk last week of­fered $12 bil­lion to buy back the 25 per­cent stake held by Deri­paska's United Co. Rusal, and yes­ter­day's ac­cord would pro­vide cash for such a deal, ac­cord­ing to No­mura Hold­ings Plc. "The sale of trea­sury stock may in­di­cate that No­rilsk is go­ing ahead with its plan to buy out" Rusal, said Vladimir Zhukov, an an­a­lyst at No­mura in Moscow. Sell­ing 8 per­cent would also keep No­rilsk be­low the 30 per­cent thresh­old that trig­gers a manda­tory of­fer to mi­nor­ity hold­ers, he said.

While Rusal re­jected No­rilsk's bid, an­a­lysts in­clud­ing Zhukov said the alu­minum com­pany may stand to ben­e­fit from such a deal. "It's a very at­trac­tive price," Zhukov said Dec. 16. "We are concerned that an as­set worth over $3.5 bil­lion was mon­e­tized with­out dis­cus­sion and vot­ing at the board," Rusal said yes­ter­day in a state­ment. "More­over, the stake was sold to Trafigura, a com­pany which is a di­rect com­peti­tor of No­rilsk Nickel for mar­ket­ing and sales of its met­als." Trafigura, based in Am­s­ter­dam, is world's sec­ond­largest trader of non-fer­rous met­als. Maria Uvarova, a spokes­woman for No­rilsk, de­clined to com­ment. A Trafigura spokesman also de­clined to com­ment. -Bloomberg

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