MOSCOW, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Russia's Norilsk Nickel GMKN.MM, said on Thursday it may take part in a pool to buy out part of the stake of one of its shareholders UC RUSAL 0486.HKRUAL.PA if such a pool is created, Norilsk's chief executive officer said on Thursday.
“If there is an idea to set up an investor pool than we will consider a possibility of active cooperation and participation,” Vladimir Strzhalkovsky told reporters.
“It is not necessary to buy the whole stake, it may be part of the stake, which later can be sold.”
RUSAL, majority owned by tycoon Oleg Deripaska, is battling with another Norilsk shareholder, Interros, owned by billionaire Vladimir Potanin for control of the company, which is the world’s top producer of nickel and palladium.
RUSAL and Interros each hold a little over 25 percent in Norilsk.
At a June annual shareholders meeting, RUSAL lost a seat on the Norilsk Board, and chairman Alexander Voloshin was replaced under protest from the aluminium giant.
A Kremlin source was quoted by Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Tuesday as saying the ideal solution would be a sale by one of the parties, and denying that the government might intervene by taking a stake in Norilsk.
“Norilsk Nickel is a private company,” RIA Novosti quoted the source as saying. “It should stay this way in the future.”
Interfax quoted the source as saying that the Kremlin thought that a buyout of a stake in Norilsk by a third party, but not by the state or state-run conglomerate Russian Technologies, would be an ideal solution to the conflict.
RIA did not specify which stake the Kremlin proposed buying out. Both RUSAL and Interros have repeatedly said they had no plans to sell their stakes.
Reporting by Polina Devitt; writing by Aleksandras Budrys; editing by Elaine Hardcastle
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