Russian tycoons tap Norilsk for Winter Olympics building costs

City A.M. Reporter
TWO RUSSIAN tycoons will use the prodigious cash flows of the country’s largest mining company to help complete their construction projects for next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, where the budget has spiralled to a record $50bn (£32.3bn).

Norilsk Nickel will put money into a ski resort and the Olympic village being built by its billionaire backers, Vladimir Potanin and Oleg Deripaska, in return for stakes in the two projects, three sources familiar with the matter said.

“As a result of a number of technical operations Norilsk would make a commitment to contribute as a Sochi co-investor,” a source at Interros, the firm that manages Potanin’s interests, said yesterday.

The recent end of a dispute over strategy and control at Norilsk between Potanin and Deripaska, which ended in a rejig of the company’s ownership structure, appears to have eased the way to a deal in which the company would back the Olympic projects.

President Vladimir Putin has turned to some of Russia’s richest men to help give the sub-tropical Black Sea resort of Sochi and the nearby mountains in its Krasnaya Polyana section a makeover for the 2014 Winter Games.

The deals will not have a significant financial impact on Norilsk, which produces 17 per cent of the world’s nickel.

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