Vladimir Potanin increased the stake in Norilsk Nickel by 1.5-1.6%. The businessman said this today, May 15, during hearings in the High Court of London. Here the second day there are hearings on the suit of UC Rusal. The latter is trying to block the sale of Crispian by Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov 4% stake in Norilsk Nickel. 2.1% of them have already purchased the Whiteleave Potanin. Another 1.9% is due to UC Rusal itself.
Potanin said in court that Whiteleave bought a 1.5-1.6% stake in Norilsk Nickel in the free market. The participant of the meeting informed Vedomosti about this. The same was written by Interfax referring to its sources.
The date of purchase and the amount Potanin did not name. Capitalization of Norilsk Nickel on the London Stock Exchange, according to data at 17.30 Moscow time, was $ 27.1 billion. Thus, the package could cost $ 406-433 million.
Representatives of Interros, Norilsk Nickel and UC Rusal declined to comment.
"Now both sides must adhere to the shareholder agreement, which regulates their relations and the company's activities. Therefore, there should not be any major shifts due to the purchase of shares by Interros structures, "says Nikolay Sosnovsky, Director for Metallurgy and Mining Prosperity Capital. However, by the time the shareholder agreement expires in 2022, both sides may already be in different weight categories, the expert is sure.
"Vladimir Potanin confirmed the desire to continue to increase the stake in Norilsk Nickel," said Aton analyst Andrei Lobazov. In his opinion, this is not bad, since it shows the belief of the main shareholder in the company and industry perspectives. "But on the other hand, it means that the securities recently had good support - 1.5%, it is $ 450 million bought from the market, which corresponds to about 4.5 days of turnover on the stock exchange (Norilsk Nickel is traded at $ 50 million a day in London and Russia), "the expert says.
In the "Norilsk Nickel" since the beginning of the year, a conflict broke out between the main co-owners - UC Rusal and the company's president Vladimir Potanin (its structures are controlled by 32.9% of Norilsk Nickel). The reason was the desire of another major shareholder - Crispian Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov - to sell the bulk of his stake: 4% of 6.2%. Initially, a proposal to buy out such a share was sent by one of Potanin's structures. Crispian, by agreement of shareholders, offered the same package to UC Rusal on the same terms.
The latter, however, decided that the repurchase of the stake by Potanin could change the balance of power in Norilsk Nickel, and challenged the deal in court. From the testimony of the parties in the trial, it followed that Potanin and Deripaska had not agreed that it was better to finance the new investment projects of Norilsk Nickel or pay dividends. The court did not yet make a final decision, but in March, allowed the Potanin structure to buy a part of the Crispian package - 2.1%. The deal was made on the condition that it could be deployed by a court decision. The remaining should go to UC Rusal, as the company also decided to accept the offer.
UC Rusal threatened to launch the process of Russian roulette, but because of the sanctions of the US Treasury, imposed on April 6 against Oleg Deripaska and his eight companies, including UC Rusal itself, abandoned the idea.