The Russian presidential administration is watching the development of a conflict between the shareholders of metals producer Norilsk Nickel, spokesman Dmitry Peskov declared on February 26.
“Bearing in mind the size and the importance, the social importance, the economic importance of the company, the Kremlin is of course watching how the management situation is unfolding,” he said. “But nevertheless, we see it impossible to intervene in the actions of the shareholders in any way because these are indeed relations between, let’s say, legal entities, which are company’s shareholders.”
A long standing shareholder conflict between Norilsk Nickel shareholders Interros of Vladimir Potanin and RUSAL of Oleg Deripaska, which was resolved in 2012 with the intermediation of Roman Abramovich by signing an agreement with a five-year share lockup period, resumed in mid-February. The lockup period expired in December 2017, when Interros decided to buy Abramovich’s 4% in Norilsk Nickel. RUSAL is trying to suspend the deal in the High Court of London.
Under the agreement, RUSAL and Interros can initiate the so-called Russian roulette by offering the other company to buy its Norilsk Nickel shares at a price below a six-month market average plus 20%. The company, which receives the offer, must agree to sell at the price, or buy the other company’s stake at the price or ask for a higher price for its stake. In the latter case, the initiating company would either buy the stake at a higher price or sell its stake at the price.
The company, which would break the agreement, would sell a 1.875% stake in Norisk Nickel at $1.
RUSAL on February 23 said it would ask its shareholders for a year-long mandate to participate in a possible duel with Interros, where the company would be able to spend $15.394 billion at most and sell its stake for at least $9.722 billion.
Sources close to Deripaska said that he was leaving operating management of RUSAL and holding company En+ to become a top manager at Norilsk Nickel. (Prime/Ukrainian metal)