Norilsk may cut 2010 dividends 14% to 180 rbls/share

Russia’s top nickel maker, Norilsk Nickel, may cut 2010 dividend payments by 14 percent to 180 rubles per ordinary share, the company said late on Thursday.

“The management board recommends a pay-out of 180 rubles per share in the form of dividends,” Norilsk said in a statement.

Norilsk shareholders, including RusAl, the world’s largest aluminum firm, and Interros holding company, another core owner of Norilsk, may receive over 34.3 billion rubles in dividends.

RusAl, owned by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Interros, the investment arm of another Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin, have long been fighting for control of Norilsk Nickel.

RusAl, which is saddled with an $11 billion debt, has said it considered dividends as the fairest form of profit distribution among the shareholders. A RusAl official said that Norilsk might have paid higher dividends given a $5 billion net profit in 2010.

“Nevertheless (Norilsk) management together with Interros has chosen a share buyback program, which allows management to vote in Interros’ interests with the shares,” the official told RIA Novosti.

In April Norilsk completed its $4.5 billion buyback program, strongly opposed by RusAl, which said it distorted the shareholder structure.

MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) 

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