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Norilsk Nickel suspends share buyback on court order: firm

Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium, said on Monday that it had suspended an estimated $3.5 billion buyback programme following a Caribbean court order.

The court in Saint Kitts and Nevis had prohibited Norilsk Nickel’s Corbiere unit from “taking any corporate action to complete the tender offer” for shares of Norilsk Nickel, the metals company said in a statement.

The buyback offer is opposed by aluminium giant UC Rusal, which holds a 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel and was the one to file a suit against the share buyback.

Rusal said in a statement on Monday it welcomed the court decision, adding the decision by Norilsk Nickel to buy back over six percent of its shares was “illegitimate, harming the shareholders and further damaging the company’s value.”

Corbiere plans to contest the court order, Norilsk Nickel said.

Under the tender, the share buyback began on January 27 and was to continue until February 10.

Norilsk Nickel has been at the centre of a shareholder feud between billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s UC Rusal and billionaire Vladimir Potanin’s Interros, which also holds 25 percent in the nickel producer.