RIA Novosti: Norilsk Nickel sells 8.06 pct of shares to offshore companies

RIA Novosti reports that Norilsk Nickel has sold 8.06 percent of its shares  to two offshore companies, Delmonico Group and Crelios Investment, for over $2.77 billion, the company said in documents obtained by RIA Novosti on Monday.

The owners of the two companies were not specified in the documents, but the article points to a deal late last year that Norilsk made with Swiss trading house Trafigura Beheer BV:

In December 2010, Norilsk signed a deal with Swiss-based trading house Trafigura Beheer BV on the sale to it of American Depositary Shares (ADS) equaling about 8 percent of Norilsk’s stock. This year the nickel giant said it closed the deal but did not publish its terms.

Russian aluminum giant RusAl, one of the core shareholders in Norilsk Nickel, has said the deal was not approved by the Norilsk board of directors, its details were opaque and Trafigura may not be the end buyer of the shares, while a company friendly to Norilsk may have financed the purchase.

Norilsk is the largest diversified mining and metals company in Russia, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium and one of the world’s largest producers of platinum, rhodium, copper and cobalt. The company also produces a large number of by-products, including gold, silver, tellurium, selenium, iridium and ruthenium.

The key production units in Russia are on the Polar and Kola Peninsulas and it also operates mines in Finland, Australia, Botswana and South Africa.

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