28 Dec 2010 13:28

Inter RAO may not proceed with OGK-3 buy from Norilsk Nickel

MOSCOW. Dec 28 (Interfax) - OJSC Inter RAO UES is prepared to walk away from the possible purchase of the Norilsk Nickel stake in generating company OJSC OGK-3 if the mining company's board of directors decides at its Tuesday meeting to postpone a sale decision, head of Inter RAO's strategy division Ilnar Mirsiyapov announced at a briefing.

Norilsk Nickel directors plan to consider the share sale again on Tuesday. As a potential buyer, Inter RAO is offering additionally issued shares as payment. EuroSibEnergo, another interested party, is offering cash.

The board of directors has several times pushed back consideration of a swap of OGK-3 shares for Inter RAO additional shares, citing the need for more information.

Reports that Norilsk Nickel might sell OGK-3 first surfaced in mid-October. Chief at the holding company Interros (a Norilsk Nickel shareholder) Vladimir Potanin said that the mining and metals giant was prepared to sell the stake for $2.5-$3 billion. It was subsequently reported that Inter RAO was interested in the acquisition, as it is involved in consolidating its energy holdings via an additional share issue. The OGK-3 stake (82.7%, factoring in the company Intergeneratsiya) has been appraised at $2.1 billion.

EuroSibEnergo's offer came later. Chairman of the company's board of directors Andrei Likhachev sent his counterpart at Norilsk Nickel Vasily Titov and General Director Vladimir Strzhalkovsky a letter saying EuroSibEnergo was ready to by 79% of OGK-3 for $2 billion using bank-loan monies.