Norilsk departs Stillwater

Norilsk Nickel subsidiary, Norimet, has sold its controlling stake in US metals company Stillwater Mining.

Accordig to Stillwater, Norimet first placed  37  million shares through an  SPO at  $19.5  per share, followed by  the sale of  additional  3.8 million shares  to bank underwriters – Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, UBS and VTB Capital – exercising an oversubscription option.  That saw Nornickel sell its 49.8 million shares of Stillwater, or 51.8% of the charter capital.  UBS acquired the remaining 9 million shares from Norimet through an issue of  exchangeable notes to mature on  June 15, 2012, when the  holders will be able  to swap the notes for either cash or shares in Stillwater.

Norilsk Nickel CEO, Vladimir Strlzhakovsky, says Norilsk was just a portfolio investor and didn’t receive any dividends form its American asset.  Alfa Bank analysts Barry Ehrlich, Maxim Semyonovyh and Sergei Krivohizhin told finam.ru that the move would help the Russian company improve its financial performance.

“We take this announcement as positive for Nornikel: the Company managed to get rid of an unprofitable asset that it didn’t control, gaining about $950 million (provided all the options are exercised). Now the question is how Nornickel will use the money. We think, that the Company might either pay a part of its debt or put the money away to buy out its 25% stake from Rusal.”

Gazprombank analyst, Sergei Kanin said the news wouldn’t have much effect on the price of Norilsk Nickel shares.

“We take the news as neutral for Norilsk Nickel, as the Company had announced about its intention to sell the share several days before the deal was implemented. We think that this information was already included into the share price of Norilsk Nickel and won’t influence further changes in dynamics of the Russian Company shares.  ”