Interview with Ralph Morgan
Russia Today: How will the merger with LionOre now take place?
R.M.: We've already completed most of the work associated with the integration of all our nickel assets. We're now proceeding to integrate all of our foreign assets onto one unit. Now the integration process will take approximately six months for the majority of the activities, but integration of that nature is an ongoing process.
RT: Will the acquisition of LionOre mean that you will close production units in Russia?
R.M.: No. Unfortunately this tends to happen that rumours go around at times of acquisitions. We don't have any plans at this point of time as a result of the acquisition internationally to close any production units in Russia. We of course, as part of our optimisation programme and restructuring programme for our assets in Russia, looking to streamline some older assets – but not a result of the acquisition.
RT: Do you plan any further acquisitions?
R.M.: We are always looking at potential opportunities – which covers not just acquisitions but also partnership opportunities such as joint ventures and so forth. The two acquisitions we've recently made are part of a plan that we've put up together in 2005 and have being executing more recently. I wouldn't exclude further acquisitions, but obviously at this point of time we're not at liberty to comment on what exactly we are working at.
RT: Norilsk Nickel is one of the major assets still not under governmental control. This has prompted speculation that the government will take over Norilsk Nickel and possibly merge it with Alrosa. What is your comment?
R.M.: Well, these rumours have been around for quite a long time actually – I think it's now emerging probably for the third year. And despite declarations by public officials in the government, by the chairman of board of Alrosa, the fact is that it's not in the plans and it's not possible even. But rumours still go around. Plans of that nature I don't know about. To be honest the management of Norilsk Nickel is focused on growing this company successfully.