Rusal looks for clarification of Prokhorov Potanin deal on Norilsk
In a statement released on Thursday afternoon Rusal stated,
“UC RUSAL believes that Interros and Vladimir Potanin must clarify the situation and requests the involvement of the Federal Financial Markets Service,”
The statement appears to be placing pressure on Potanin’s Onexim Group to make an offer to buy out smaller shareholders, noting that Potanin has a significant stake already, and may in fact already control Norilsk.
“According to the released information, Vladimir Potanin's Interros plans to buy a 16.66% stake in Norilsk Nickel from ONEXIM Group. When this deal is completed, Vladimir Potanin's Interros could get control over a stake exceeding 30% and, according to Russian Federation legislation, will be obliged to make an offer and purchase the shares ofthe other shareholders of Norilsk Nickel,”
“Moreover, there are a number of factors, including the results of the voting at the Annual General Meeting of Norilsk Nickel's shareholders, that indicate that Interros already controls a stake in Norilsk Nickel exceeding 30% and yet has not made a mandatory offer to minority shareholders to buy out their shares. This is a breach of Russian legislation and minority shareholders' rights. We believe it is necessary that the Federal Financial Markets Service holds a detailed inspection of the shareholding structure of Norilsk Nickel to investigate the above-mentioned violations of the legislation and to protect the rights of minority shareholders,”
The statement comes amidst mounting questions concerning the deal announced on Tuesday. Polyus Gold said on Wednesday that had received no information on the deal under which a 32.5% stake in it, Russia’s largest Gold producer, would be used as part payment by Potanin as purchase for a 16.6% stake in Norilsk.
Analysts are also questioning from where Prokhorov could have acquired the 16.6% stake he proposes to sell, given that he has sold the 25% stake to Rusal in December 2007 and sold a further 4% stake to Potanin in May.