OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the Russian miner that agreed last week to sell a stake to Trafigura Beheer BV, rejected a claim by investor United Co. Rusal (486) that Glencore International AG had previously offered to buy the shares.
“An allegation by the management of Rusal about Glencore’s offer to Norilsk Nickel regarding the purchase of securities owned by the company’s subsidiaries is not true,” Norilsk said today in a statement. “No offers of such kind were ever received by the company from Glencore.”
Norilsk, whose largest shareholders are locked in a dispute over control, agreed on Dec. 20 to sell an 8 percent stake to Amsterdam-based commodities trader Trafigura. Yesterday, Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who owns 25 percent of Norilsk through Rusal, said Glencore had made an offer before the Trafigura deal was reached.
“Today’s statement of Norilsk Nickel is misleading and incorrect,” Moscow-based Rusal said in an e-mailed statement. “This is another attempt to hide real facts.”
Marc Ocskay, a Glencore spokesman in Baar, Switzerland, declined to comment on Deripaska’s remarks yesterday. Glencore owns about 9 percent of Rusal, according to the Russian company’s annual report.
Deripaska has fought over ownership of Norilsk with fellow shareholder Vladimir Potanin since 2008, and has rebuffed two offers to sell out of the nickel company since October. Norilsk yesterday proposed to buy back shares above the market price after failing in its latest bid to take back Rusal’s stake.
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