Norilsk Shares Surge to 11-week High After Tycoons End Feud

MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) – Shares of Russian mining and metals giant Norilsk Nickel jumped over 4 percent in Wednesday afternoon trade to a 11-week high as investors were cheered by the news of a peace deal between the company’s feuding billionaire shareholders, market data showed.

By 2:45 p.m. Moscow time [11:45 a.m. GMT], Norilsk’s shares were up 4.02 percent to 5,072 rubles ($165) per share after touching 5,094 rubles earlier in the session, the highest level since September 21. The ruble-denominated MICEX stock index was up 1.7 percent as of 2:51 p.m. Moscow time.

Positive news for Norilsk Nickel came on Tuesday when RusAl, one of its core shareholders with a 25 percent stake, announced it had reached a deal with the Interros holding company, the holder of 28 percent, to settle their long-standing dispute over the company’s corporate management and strategy.

Under the deals, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s Millhouse Capital will buy about 7.3 percent of Norilsk’s quasi-treasury stock to help Oleg Deripaska, who controls RusAl, and Interros owner Vladimir Potanin to settle their disagreements over the mining and metals giant.

Under the agreement approved by RusAl’s board of directors on Monday, Potanin will replace Norilsk Nickel’s CEO Vladimir Strzhalkovsky. RusAl and Interros will each have four representatives on the metals giant’s board of directors, Millhouse will have three, with RusAl and Interros nominating two independent directors.

The agreement also sets out measures to safeguard stable dividend payments for the period 2012-2014.

RusAl and Interros have been embroiled in a shareholder row over control of the company since June 2010, when RusAl lost one seat on Norilsk’s board, while Interros increased its control over the firm.

RusAl accused Interros of breaking the parity agreement, and went so far as to accuse the board of directors of vote fraud. Both Deripaska and Potanin have been battling it out in court since then, fighting for control over Norilsk, which has a market value of about $30 billion.

Interros has also repeatedly tried to resolve the conflict by offering to buy RusAl’s stake in Norilsk Nickel. RusAl has rejected at least three such offers since late 2010.


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