Russia's Mechel considers buying Britain's Oriel

MOSCOW, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - Mechel [RTS: MTLR], a leading Russian mining and metals company, announced on Monday that it was seeking to buy Britain's Oriel Resources.

Media reports earlier in the day said Mechel was negotiating the acquisition of Oriel, a London-based chrome and nickel mining and processing company, for around $1.2 billion.

"Mechel is currently considering buying Oriel Resources Plc. The process is at the earliest stage, which means that a specific proposal might not follow," Mechel said in a press release.

Oriel owns the Tikhvin smelter near St. Petersburg and has two deposits in Kazakhstan, including the Voskhod chrome and the Shevchenko nickel projects.

Mechel's market capitalization is around $18.1 billion. Last year, the company increased its coal output by 25% to 21.2 million metric tons, and pushed rolled steel production up 9% to 5.1 million metric tons.

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