Metalloinvest has withdrawn from Norilsk Nickel

The 1.79% stake was sold for $400 million.
"Metalloinvest" sold the remainder of the stake in Norilsk Nickel - 1.79% - for $ 400 million, the iron ore holding said. "Metalloinvest" carried out the procedure of accelerated bookbuilding, organized by Deutsche Bank. The offering price assumes a discount of 4.5% to the quotations of Norilsk Nickel's shares on the London Stock Exchange before the transaction. The main shareholding was acquired by Deutsche Bank, part sold to its foreign clients, said a trader familiar with the terms of the deal.

Major shareholders of Norilsk Nickel (Interros, UC Rusal or Crispian) did not buy the paper, say two sources close to the various shareholders. A representative of Metalloinvest did not say why the holding decided to sell the remaining shares of Norilsk Nickel. The representative of Deutsche Bank did not answer the questions.

The owners of Metalloinvest - Alisher Usmanov, the family of the State Duma deputy Andrei Skoch and the owner of Coalco Vasily Anisimov (sold a stake in Metalloinvest in 2012) - acquired about 5% of Norilsk Nickel in the spring of 2008 for $ 2 billion. The businessmen wanted to build together With the main owner of the nickel company Vladimir Potanin "Russian BHP." But the partnership did not work out - a fierce corporate war broke out between Potanin and UC Rusal for operational control over Norilsk Nickel, then a crisis occurred, and the merger projects faded into the background. And in 2011 the iron ore holding bought out 4% of the company's shares from shareholders for $ 2.225 billion.

Gradually reduce the share in Norilsk Nickel Metalloinvest began in 2011 - then he took part in the buyback, selling 0.4% for $ 255 million, but the holding's stake in Norilsk Nickel did not change, because in 2013 the nickel The company repaid 17.04% of quasi-treasury shares. In 2014, Metalloinvest sold a 1.8% stake in Norilsk Nickel for $ 588 million; In 2016, another 1.4% of the package for $ 342 million. That is, the sale of shares of Norilsk Nickel brought Metalloinvest about $ 1.59 billion (including the last deal). Since 2011, the share of Metalloinvest was about $ 494 million in dividends. It turns out that Norilsk Nickel shares could bring Metalloinvest 5.3% less than it paid for them to its shareholders: $ 2.08 billion.

For Norilsk Nickel, the package of Metalloinvest has been a "canopy" for many years, says Aton analyst Andrei Lobazov. "The exit of Metalloinvest from the shareholders should remove the risk of falling quotes for Norilsk Nickel, increase the liquidity of the shares and slightly increase the share in the MSCI index," he adds. It is not clear why Metalloinvest decided to sell the package right now, Norilsk Nickel shares were sold poorly in comparison with the market. Among possible causes Lobazov calls disappointment in the potential for growth of securities or the need for money for new projects.

Norilsk Nickel and Metalloinvest could not develop a joint long-term development strategy, explains a source in one of Norilsk Nickel's shareholders. "Usmanov would like to see [the managing partner of Norilsk Nickel Vladimir] Potanin and Norilsk Nickel as a partner in the development of Udokan. But "Norilsk Nickel" is more interested in another option - the Baimskoye deposit, the rights to develop it belong to another group of shareholders - Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov, "he said.

Several years ago, Kommersant wrote that Usmanov suggested Potanin to exchange his participation in Udokan for an additional 5% of Norilsk Nickel. It was not possible to reach an agreement. This spring, Usmanov told Vedomosti that his Russian partner, Igor Altushkin, could become his partner in developing Udokan. "I have exhausted all proposals for him [Potanin] even at the beginning of our love alliance for Norilsk Nickel," explained Usmanov. Potanin preferred cooperation with Abramovich and Abramov.