31 Mar 2023 18:44

Nornickel sells in Asia what EU customers don't buy, and is ready to return after the end of the period of instability - Potanin

NORILSK/MOSCOW. March 31 (Interfax) - Norilsk Nickel , faced with refusals from its traditional European customers, sells the entire volume of products they do not purchase in the Southeast Asian market, the head of the company Vladimir Potanin told reporters in Norilsk, where he was visiting the construction site of the Sulfur Program at the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant.

Answering a question about the changing geographical structure of sales, Potanin said that the company will not be without markets, despite European partners' refusals to buy.

"We will fight to maintain our position in these markets in the EU. We will not be capricious and behave like children fighting in a sandbox. But everything that our traditional partners will not take, we will deliver to the markets of Southeast Asia and to other countries, using logistics chains which are already in place," the head of Norilsk Nickel said.

"Moreover, I am deeply convinced that after this period of instability has passed, we will have the strength to return to these markets. Our partners would be wise enough to treat this pragmatically and for our mutual benefit," he said.

"We live in a strange world. Europeans and other consumers are very interested in our metal: it is high quality and logistically accessible, but due to known circumstances, some companies decide not to buy our metal due to an emotional assessment of the current situation. Some even do themselves harm by refusing to honor existing contracts, while others refuse traditional volumes, replacing them with others that are obviously less profitable," Potanin said.

As reported, Norilsk Nickel has redirected a significant part of the export of metals to the port of Tangier in Morocco, through which the bulk of the copper produced by the company is sold to Asia. Nickel continues to be sold primarily through the port of Rotterdam. This option was developed by Norilsk Nickel in case the port of Rotterdam refuses to accept cargo from the Russian company. Previously, virtually all of Norilsk Nickel's products were supplied from Murmansk to the European market, where its main consumers are located.

The share of Europe in the company's revenue last year fell to 47% from 53%. The share of Asia grew to 31% from 27% a year earlier, while the share of America remained at 15%, Russia and the CIS make up 5%. More serious changes in the sales structure will actually occur this year, since in 2022 the volumes contracted at the end of 2021 were mostly sold; Norilsk Nickel's clients fulfilled their obligations, since the company is not under sanctions.