November 13, 2012 / 8:06 AM / 5 years ago

Russia's Onexim CEO leaves RUSAL board

MOSCOW, Nov 13 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Onexim, an investment vehicle of tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, has left the board of directors of aluminium giant RUSAL, potentially signalling a new round of shareholder conflict at the aluminium producer.

RUSAL said Dmitry Razumov, CEO of Onexim, was replaced on its board by Christophe Charlier, Onexim’s deputy CEO, due to other business commitments. Razumov said he did not have any disagreement with the board, RUSAL said in a statement.

Onexim’s spokesman declined to comment.

Shareholders of RUSAL, which is controlled by businessman Oleg Deripaska, are in a dispute over the company’s corporate governance and its strategy regarding a 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest nickel and palladium miner.

Earlier this year, RUSAL’s minority shareholder Viktor Vekselberg quit as the company’s chairman, saying the firm was in “deep crisis” and overburdened with debt.

In October Matthias Warnig, a former East German secret agent turned investment banker who has known Russian President Vladimir Putin since the 1990s, was appointed chairman of RUSAL.

“RUSAL’s board decides nothing now and turned out to be a body which is signing off Deripaska’s decisions,” a source close to Onexim told Reuters on Tuesday.

The source did not say if Onexim’s strategy towards RUSAL, in which it owns 17.02 percent, had changed.

Deripaska has resisted calls to dispose of RUSAL’s 25 percent share in Norilsk Nickel to pay down debts at a time when aluminium markets are weak.

RUSAL, which posted on Monday a recurring net loss of $76 million for the three months ended September, has negotiated waivers on tests of its loan agreements until the end of 2013.

Its net debt of $10.71 billion partly stems from the purchase of the Norilsk stake in 2008 for an estimated $14 billion. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Mark Potter)

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