29 Nov 2010 16:30

Norilsk Nickel selling off Stillwater stake

MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) - MMC Norilsk Nickel plans to sell off its controlling stake in Stillwater Mining Company, the U.S. company said in a statement.

The shares are held by a subsidiary, Norimet Ltd.

Norilsk Nickel declined to comment on the report.

Norimet plans to offer 37 million shares in the SPO. It will also provide up to 3,813,222 shares for an over-allotment option. It will simultaneously sell up to 9 million shares (including 1,160,000 in an over-allotment option) to UBS Securities.

The SPO and the sale to UBS would leave Norimet with 5.1% of Stillwater shares. If the over-allotment options are exercised in full, it would cease to own any shares, although it would still have $80 million in convertible bonds maturing in 2028 (on 3,402,807 shares).

The SPO organizers are Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and UBS Securities LLC, as well as VTB Capital, which will be represented by a U.S. brokerage, as it is not licensed for brokerage operations in the U.S.

Stillwater charter capital total 97,867,420 shares, excluding 624,596 that will be issued under the options program, 1,498,089 reserved for the future employee incentives plan and 3,893,325 shares that will be used to purchase Marathon PGM.

Norimet Ltd currently owns 49,813,222 shares, or 51.3% of charter capital. Norilsk Nickel purchased the stake at the end of 2002 for $341 million, of which $100 million in cash and the rest in palladium. At the beginning of April this year, Norilsk said it was considering "potential strategic alternatives" for its investment, including full or partial sale of its stake in a public or private placement.