Interros 'serious' on Norilsk Nickel proposal: Potanin

25th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

The head of investment conglomerate Interros said Monday the group was "serious" about its intention to acquire a 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel from aluminium giant Rusal.

"Our intentions are serious, and they have serious financial support," Vladimir Potanin said in an interview with Kommersant daily published Monday.

Interros Holding and its undisclosed partners are ready to pay nine billion dollars (6.4 billion euros) for a 25 percent stake of Norilsk Nickel held by Rusal, a proposal that Rusal categorically opposes.

"I have a feeling that our confrontation (with Rusal) is going more and more into a dead end," Potanin said in a justification of his decision to buy the stake.

Rusal however has consistently proclaimed its opposition to the sale of its stake, calling it a "strategic" investment.

"For me this is not a refusal. The myth that (Rusal CEO Oleg) Deripaska buys everything and sells nothing and will not ever sell, that is a myth," Potanin said.

He said he did not rule out the creation of a giant mining company in Russia, which could include Evraz, Severstal and Metalloinvest.

The world's largest palladium and nickel producer, Norilsk Nickel has been at the center of a shareholder feud between Rusal, which holds 25 percent plus two shares, and Interros, which has 25 percent plus one share.

Deripaska and Potanin both want to control the nickel producer.

© 2010 AFP

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