The High Court of London plans to continue hearings of a dispute between UC RUSAL and tycoon Vladimir Potanin’s Interros over a sale of shares in Norilsk Nickel on March 8, a lawyer representing one of the Russian companies reported.
Judge Simon Picken said during the February 27 hearing that it would be reasonable for the companies to hold two more hearings of the case. March 8 and March 9 were named among possible dates of the hearings.
The lawyer said that the exact time of the hearing would be defined later.
A long-standing conflict between Norilsk Nickel shareholders Interros 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.
According to the materials of the court, Interros and RUSAL failed to coordinate parameters of a new shareholder agreement. Potanin agreed to adjust the agreement, including an increase of annual payments to shareholders of Norilsk Nickel from $1 billion to $1.5 billion, but no more than $10 billion over the next five years, while Deripaska wanted dividends raised to $2.5 billion a year.
Potanin was also ready to take over Norilsk Nickel’s liabilities to Swiss commodity trader Glencore, a shareholder of RUSAL, on supplies of some metals and some projects, but Deripaska wanted proportionate distribution of all sold metals among the largest owners of the metals giant.
The companies have also studied exclusion of a shoot-out auction from the shareholder agreement, and switching the basis of dividend calculations to free cash flow.
During negotiations, Interros also offered RUSAL a call option for 2.8% in Norilsk Nickel. But Deripaska wanted to get a put option for his entire stake in the metals giant for a fixed price, while Potanin thought the option was not economically possible.
Interros owns a 30.3% stake in Norilsk Nickel, while RUSAL owns 27.8%. (Prime/Ukrainian metal)