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30 Jun, 2008 18:59

Nickel giant elects new board

The world’s bigget nickel producer, Norilsk Nickel, has elected a new board of directors. Among the new members are representatives of Rusal, which bought a stake in the company earlier this year. The new board is expected to settle differences over how t

The balance of power on the board has tipped in favour of Vladimir Potanin`s company, Interros, despite the arrival of new co-owners from Rusal.

Among the new board members is Russia’s richest man, Oleg Deripaska, Rusal's general director, Aleksandr Bulygin, president of Oneksim, Mikhail Prokhorov, and head of Interros, Vladimir Potanin.

Rusal and Interros each have three seats on the new board. They own 25% and 30% of Nornickel respectively.

The new team are expected to meet in the coming week. Their first decision will be whether to extend the contract of general director Denis Morozov. He has requested a vote of confidence.

The international business community as well as the company’s management hope this meeting will crystallise NorNickel’s future strategy.

Vladimir Zhukov, senior analyst from Lehman Brothers, says the new board creates a platform for debate that the company previously lacked.

2007 was not the best year for the metals company. It all started with a dispute between its main partners Vladimir Potanin and Mikail Prokhorov. This ended when Prokhorov sold his 25% stake to Rusal.

Attention is now focused on how the new owners will work together.

Experts say Nornickel is interested in joining forces with Russia’s iron and steel group MetalloInvest.