MOSCOW Jan 27 Russia's Norilsk Nickel
said on Wednesday it would consider participating in a "Global
Palladium Fund L.P." at a Feb. 1 board meeting, signalling it
could potentially move nearer to a palladium stock deal with
Russia's central bank.
Since 2014, Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest palladium
and nickel producer, has had a proposal open to acquire some of
the palladium in the Russian central bank's stock through a fund
of investors led by Norilsk.
Norilsk, which made the announcement in a regulatory
disclosure, declined to elaborate on the board meeting on
Wednesday nor say whether its participation in this fund would
mean that it was closer to the deal with the central bank.
In autumn 2015, a source familiar with the talks told
Reuters that the negotiations with the central bank had been put
on hold due to a plunge in global palladium prices.
The central bank also declined comment on Wednesday. The
volume of palladium in its stock is a state secret. The bank
holds one of the world's biggest gold and foreign exchange
In March 2015, Norilsk said the central bank had agreed "in
principle" to the proposed deal, and its board was going to
consider an approval of interest holding in this Global
Palladium Fund. However, the disclosure of that meeting made no
mention of any decision on the palladium fund.
Norilsk said last March that it was ready to invest between
$200 million and $350 million in the deal, and Interros, which
manages assets of Norilsk's co-owner Vladimir Potanin, was ready
to contribute a further $100 million to $200 million.
Another shareholder in Norilsk - Russian billionaire and
Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich - could also take
part in the deal.
Norilsk Nickel had originally proposed this deal to the
central bank as part of its efforts to guarantee stock
availability for long-term customers and to increase market
(Reporting by Polina Devitt and Elena Fabrichnaya; Editing by