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25 Apr, 2008 02:33

Aluminium giant buys into world’s largest nickel producer

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has sold his 25% plus one share in the world's largest nickel and palladium producer Norilsk Nickel to the aluminium giant Rusal, headed by Oleg Deripaska.

In return Prokhorov gained a 14% stake in Rusal and up to $US8 billion in cash.

Rusal says the deal fits its strategy.

“This is the first step toward making Rusal a diversified mining corporation. And our global experience will add value for Norilsk's management and its other share-holders,” said Vera Kurochkina, Rusal Director for Corporate Communications.
Meanwhile, experts’ favourite bidder for Prokhorov’s Norilsk Nickel shares, Russian holding Interros, has told Russia Today it had no idea Rusal was about to win the 25% stake.

“We don’t have any information on that particular subject,” said Andrey Bugrov, Interros Managing Director.

In recent months Norilsk has also been in talks with the mining and steel group Metalloinvest on a potential merger as speculation was growing that Rusal didn't have the cash to buy out Prokhorov’s stake.

Experts say Mikhail Prokhorov had successfully used the bidding war to get maximum profit.

Now Rusal is expected to fight for 100% control of the world’s biggest nickel producer.