February 8, 2019 / 1:22 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Russia's VTB may sell its stake in En+ - Interfax

(Adds details, quotes, context)

MOSCOW, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Russian state bank VTB, which has a 22 percent stake in En+ Group as a part of a move to help En+ avert U.S. sanctions, may sell that stake on the market in future, En+ Board Chairman Greg Barker told Interfax.

En+ and aluminium giant Rusal, in which En+ owns a stake, were removed from Washington’s blacklist in January after tycoon Oleg Deripaska agreed to reduce his stake in En+ to 45 percent from 70 percent.

“As far as I understand, in the long-term perspective VTB may consider exiting from this investment. Of course, these shares can not be sold back to a sanctioned body. But they (VTB) can place them on the market,” Barker said.

VTB plans to gradually sell its stake in En+ in future, a banking source and a source close to the deal with the U.S. Treasury told Reuters.

VTB would use proceeds from the sale to reduce En+’s debt to VTB, the second source added. VTB will also use En+’s dividend payments to reduce En+’s debt to the bank.

VTB did not reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Barker said VTB, Russia’s second largest lender, would not require permission from the U.S. Treasury to sell the stake but would have to notify it of the deal.

En+’s new board of directors, which is dominated by independent members as part of the company’s sanctions-removal deal with the U.S. Treasury, will meet for the first time on Friday, Barker said.

The meeting will take place in Vienna and will elect the head of the new committee that will, among other things, oversee sanctions compliance.

The board remains committed to continuing the process of moving En+’s registered office from Jersey to Russia’s Kaliningrad region, and this process may be finalised in the nearest months, Barker added. (Reporting by Katya Golubkova, Tatiana Voronova, Polina Devitt; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)

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