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Rusal ready to fight for Nornickel’s shares, estimates its stake at $9.7 bln

Rusal owns 27.8% of Nornickel, while Potanin’s Interros has 30.4%

MOSCOW, February 23. /TASS/.Russian aluminum giant Rusal is prepared to fight with Interros conglomerate controlled by businessman Vladimir Potanin for the shares in Nornickel and will ask for its shareholders’ mandate, the company said in a statement.

"If the shares sale is initiated on conditions of the Russian roulette (or duel) the company suggests doing this through the shareholders’ endorsement by convening an emergency meeting that should give a mandate (on selling the stake in Nornickel) after the approval of the company’s board of directors," the statement said.

Rusal owns 27.8% of Nornickel, while Potanin’s Interros has 30.4%.

The company expects to get at least $9.722 bln if it sells its share in Nornickel, a Russian nickel and palladium mining and smelting company. The price of share in Nornickel should be at least $220.8 and must not exceed $320, it said.

‘Duel’ over Nornickel’s shares

The clash between Nornickel’s shareholders began in 2008 after its co-owners - Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov - divided their assets. In April 2008, Prokhorov sold a part of his package (25% plus one share) to Oleg Deripaska.

After the deal, Deripaska called for the merger of Rusal and Nornickel, but Potanin did not endorse the plan.

The way out of the crisis was found only in December 2012. Rusal and Interros signed a deal under which Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s Millhouse bought some of Nornickel’s shares. Later Crispian Invstments acted as a mediator until December 2017, owning 4.95% of shares.

Under the deal, Rusal and Interros may buy each other’s shares through the so-called Russian roulette procedure. The minimum price in this case should amount to Nornickel’s half-year weighted average price plus 20%.

News broke on February 16 that Abramovich’s Crispian Investments seeks to buy its 4.95% share in the metal giant. The company estimated the value of the package at $1.48 bln and offered both shareholders to buy it.

Rusal filed a lawsuit with the High Court in London to stonewall the deal on buying Potanin’s share. Rusal said it was ready to accept the proposal should it be in line with the shareholders’ agreement. The hearing will begin on March 5.