Rusal’s Deripaska to Step Down and Focus on Norilsk Nickel – by Staff (Aluminium Insider – February 20, 2018)

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Russian Federation industrialist Oleg Deripaska is to step down from his position as president of both En+ Group and U.C. Rusal, Russian and international media reported.

While RUSAL clarified that no such decision has been made yet and that the Company’s board will discuss executive changes on 22 February, sources told the media earlier this week that Deripaska will announce his departure from these two pursuits, retaining only his official capacity at GAZ Group, which is Russia’s premier producer of commercial vehicles. According to insiders, the move was in the works prior to news of the renewed fight for Norilsk Nickel.

The battle to control Norilsk has been an off-again, on-again affair for the last decade that began upon the exit of Mikhail Prokhorov from the firm. Prokhorov, who was Vladimir Potanin’s partner in the venture the time of his departure, left a partial ownership void when he stepped down in 2008. Although Potanin had his sights set on acquiring the then-unclaimed share of the enterprise, Deripaska’s Rusal purchased the interest instead.

A four-year battle for control ensued between Potanin and Deripaska. A resolution continued to prove elusive until 2012 when Roman Abramovich acquired a 6-percent interest in the firm through his holding company Crispian Investments Limited. During the five years of peace that followed, the company’s revenues and scale of operations grew.

The lock-up lapsed in December 2017, and Potanin moved to buy Abramovich’s stake through a company the former controls, Bonico, which subsequently approached Abramovich’s Crispian.

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