19 Sep 2022 12:48

Nornickel preparing for shift to East while scrambling to retain Western positions - Potanin

MOSCOW. Sept 19 (Interfax) - Nornickel is preparing to restructure its exports for Eastern markets, noting the desire of some Western partners to "twist arms," but for now the company tries to retain its presence in the European Union and America, its chief Vladimir Potanin told the RBC TV.

"[Nornickel] is doing all it can to retain the existing markets [because] on other markets no one is waiting for us, discounts there are possible, and in general conquering new markets always entails additional costs, with a less advantageous situation and conjuncture," Potanin said.

Retaining the positions on markets where Nornickel was already present was a priority, he said. Over the first seven months, Europe accounted for 50% and America for around 20% of Nornickel's revenues. "The balance has changed a little for products: Americans now buy more nickel and less palladium, but the overall revenue structure has remained," Potanin said.

"We are preparing for re-orientation to eastern markets, not only in case the sanctions or some other policy changes, but also in order to foil our partners' attempts to twist our arms.

"Some of our partners are using the situation to try and review the existing contract terms in their favor, trying to reduce the volume of future purchases, thus imposing self-sanctions of some sort, walking as far away from Russian-origin goods as possible. The result is this alternative: either we make quite serious concessions or re-orient our supplies to other markets.

"Such a balance will enable us to avoid excessive pressure on existing markets, it is what I call 'arm-twisting' and a kind of 'friendship at a discount' on friendly markets. That is exactly why we are creating additional logistical opportunities, additional distribution networks, in order to remain as flexible as possible in the circumstances, so that no party that we have to work with can dictate us its conditions unequivocally. As long as we keep this maneuver at a minimum, we will be able to serve our interests at a maximum. Once we are captured by some client on some market, that's where we'll have our arms twisted wholesale," Potanin said.