MOSCOW Oct 9 Russian aluminium group RUSAL
has won a legal claim against Norilsk Nickel
, the world's top nickel and palladium producer, which
it partly owns, signalling that long-running tensions with its
other owner may escalate.
The dispute relates to the 2011 buyback of 7.7 percent of
Norilsk's shares by Norilsk Nickel Investments Ltd, a
Cyprus-based company. RUSAL claims the money spent on buying
back those shares could have been better deployed to help the
A court in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia ruled in favour
of RUSAL's claim and declared a decision to carry out the
buyback, approved last year by Norilsk's board, invalid, RUSAL
said in a statement.
Norilsk said in separate statement that it planned to appeal
against the verdict, which it said would not have "any
substantial effect on the company's liabilities or any financial
The court supported RUSAL's claims that the decision of
Norilsk's board violated Russian law on foreign investments in
Russian companies, which are of strategic importance to the
In 2011, Norilsk spent about $9 billion on several buybacks.
The total market value of the shares which Norilsk bought back
in 2011 stands at $5 billion, the aluminium company added.
RUSAL owns 25 percent of Norilsk and is locked into conflict
with Vladimir Potanin, Norilsk's largest shareholder, over
governance, board control and returns to shareholders.
(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)