Dec. 23 -- United Co. Rusal Deputy Chief Executive Officer Maxim Sokov is seeking a review of OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel’s planned sale of an 8 percent stake to Trafigura Beheer BV by the nickel company’s auditors, according to a letter obtained by Bloomberg News.
KPMG LLP, Norilsk’s auditors, should report their findings to the Moscow-based producer’s audit committee, Sokov wrote in the letter to John Holden, chairman of the committee and an independent non-executive director.
Rusal confirmed the letter was sent, an official in the company’s press office said. Norilsk spokesman Alexei Poponin declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg, while officials at Trafigura, based in Amsterdam, weren’t immediately able to comment when contacted by phone.
Sokov, also a non-executive director of Norilsk, said he wanted to ensure the transaction was in the best interests of all shareholders and wouldn’t affect the producer’s financial condition, according to the letter.
Norilsk’s billionaire shareholders Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin have bickered over influence on the board and use of cash in a feud dating back to 2008. Norilsk last week offered $12 billion to buy back the 25 percent stake held by Deripaska’s Rusal, while the Trafigura accord would provide cash for such a deal, according to Nomura Holdings Plc.
Trafigura, the second-largest industrial metals trader, said yesterday its plan to buy the stake would give it a “fast- track expansion” in accessing output of the metal. Norilsk is the world’s biggest nickel producer.