MOSCOW (Reuters) - A temporary nationalization of Russian aluminum giant Rusal (0486.HK) is one of the options for helping the company, which has been hit by U.S. sanctions, a Kremlin spokesman said on Thursday.
Rusal and its major shareholder Oleg Deripaska were included on a U.S. sanctions blacklist this month, leading to anxiety among many of its customers, suppliers and creditors who fear they too could be hit by sanctions through association with the company.
“You know that in the expert community there are various points of view now on how to help (the sanctioned) companies. This is one of them,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Thursday.
He was asked to comment on a proposal for the state to buy out shares of affected companies as a way of helping them to mitigate the negative effect of the sanctions.
This proposal, according to a media report by online news portal RBC on Wednesday, was first voiced by the head of Russia’s Federation of Independent Trade Unions, Mikhail Shmakov, and then commented on by Alexander Shokhin, a former deputy prime minister who now heads the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
“Of course, it is important to take into account the opinion of the companies’ shareholders, the companies’ owners, the government’s capabilities. Therefore, in this case we are talking about one of the points of view, which are now being actively discussed.
“But, as far as I know, there are still no ready-made scenarios, ready-made support formulas, which is understandable,” Peskov said.
It was not clear what “temporary” nationalization would mean and how nationalization would help Rusal as the company is under U.S. sanctions on the so-called SDN list.
Rusal and En+, its largest shareholder which has also been placed under sanctions, declined to comment. Renova, Rusal’s another co-owner, was not available for immediate comment.
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Polina Devitt; Editing by Toby Chopra