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25 Nov, 2008 19:26

High noon at Norilsk sees everyone at the table

The main shareholders of Norilsk Nickel – Interros and Rusal – have agreed on the board’s structure and postponed merger talks for three years.

In the face of the global crisis even corporate fights are called off. Norilsk Nickel’s main shareholders – Interros and Rusal  settled their disagreements on how to run the world’s largest nickel company according to Vladimir Potanin, Head of Interros;

“Instability and conflict among the shareholders are the worst things the company may face in a time of crisis. So we agreed that Interros and Rusal will each have 4 representatives on the board plus three independent directors. Neither me nor Oleg Deripaska will have a seat on the company’s board”

Vladimir Potanin said Norilsk needs a rescue program to restore its capitalization that's halved since the start of the crisis.  Deripaska who wanted to merge the two metal giants now prefers to focus on solving Rusals’ problems and postponed merger talks for three years.

Both companies crave state support and are offering shares in return for cash, but Deripaska pointed out it doesn’t mean nationalisation;

“This question is very important and we believe it is settled. The government didn’t try and won’t try in the future to nationalise Norilsk Nickel.”

The head of Rusal urged the government to buy more metal products that are cheap at current prices. This would save budget money, he said, and support producers who are selling some of their stocks at a loss.

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