Rusal snubs Norilsk’s offer to buy a 20 per cent stake

THE board of Russian aluminium giant Rusal yesterday rejected Norilsk Nickel’s offer to buy out 20 per cent of its shares, RIA news agency said, quoting sources close to the Rusal board.

Last month, Norilsk offered to buy 20 per cent of its shares from Rusal for $12.8bn, which would leave the aluminium giant – majority owned by tycoon Oleg Deripaska -- with a five per cent stake. The deadline for the offer is 4 March.

Norilsk Nickel and Rusal could not be reached for immediate comment.

Rusal’s decision to keep the stake means that the marathon fight for control of Norilsk Nickel between tycoons Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin will continue.

The next round is set for 11 March, when Norilsk Nickel will hold an EGM to elect a new board.

Deripaska controls 25 per cent of the company through Rusal, while Potanin holds the same amount via his Interros investment group.