• Rusal chief steps down ahead of Norilsk scramble


    HONG KONG: Russian aluminium giant Rusal said on Friday the firm’s founder Oleg Deripaska would step down from his business empire as it prepares for a multi-billion-dollar “shoot-out” for ownership of the country’s biggest miner.

    Deripaska, who was among the first oligarchs to amass huge wealth in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, will make way for CEO Vladislav Soloviev to take up the role of president on March 15.

    Soloviev will be replaced by Alexandra Bouriko, who will become the first woman to helm of a major Russian metals group.

    Hong Kong-listed Rusal is set to go head-to-head with Vladimir Potanin’s Interros in an ownership wrangle over mining company Norilsk Nickel.

    Rusal will seek approval from shareholders, it said Friday, to take part in an auction that will eventually decide which oligarch would buy out the other’s stake in the world’s biggest producer of nickel and palladium.

    The news came as the metals giant revealed adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation in October-December rose to $586 million, up 42.2 percent from the previous year.

    Results were boosted by rising aluminium prices as well as global demand “amid coordinated economic growth in major regions of the world, including China, Europe and North America,” Rusal said in a statement.

    But quarterly net profit was down 31.8 percent at $440 million owing to gains in the previous year after selling off one of its refineries.

    The management shake-up also came after Deripaska was put on a US government report last month that listed top political figures and oligarchs “as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth”.

    The report insisted it was “not a sanctions list” but Russian President Vladimir Putin nonetheless denounced it at the time.


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