[Norilsk] Metals Billionaire to Win Whether Electric Cars Boom or Bust – by Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – November 21, 2017)


There are two major reasons mining billionaire Vladimir Potanin is within a hair’s breadth of regaining his ranking as Russia’s richest tycoon this year.

One is higher prices for nickel used in batteries as metals traders bet electric vehicles are the future of transportation. The other is a jump in palladium on wagers that gasoline cars will be here for a long time yet.

They’ve boosted the value of Potanin’s 30 percent in MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, the top miner of both metals, lifting his net worth 12 percent this year to $19 billion. They also show how Nornickel, as it’s known, will gain from auto-industry changes even if optimism on electric cars is overdone.

Palladium, used to cut pollution in gasoline and hybrid-electric vehicles, is up 47 percent this year in the best performance of any major metal as buyers turn away from dirtier diesel-powered cars after an industry scandal on emissions testing. Nickel climbed 16 percent in the period.

“Development of the electric-vehicle industry will lead to increasing demand for nickel and cobalt, but it won’t happen that fast,” Potanin said in an interview Monday. “Demand for palladium won’t fall as there will still be a lot of gasoline powered cars. And regulations are getting stricter.”

Potanin said that he would prefer to have palladium prices at parity with platinum and that Nornickel will make sure that supply remains stable despite high demand.

For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-20/billionaire-to-win-either-way-whether-electric-cars-boom-or-bust