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Interros transfers stakes in gold, nickel producers offshore

MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - Interros Holding has transferred parts of its stakes in Norilsk Nickel and Polyus Gold to offshore companies, the Russian firms said Thursday.

Applecourt Holdings Ltd has received a 7.396% stake in Polyus Gold, the Russian gold producer said in a statement. The holding company did not previously own any shares in Polyus.

United Investments, part of Interros, withdrew from the charter capital of Polyus and Norilsk Nickel. The stake in the nickel giant, also 7.396%, was transferred to Montabella Holdings Limited.

"These are purely technical operations we have informed the market about," said a representative of Interros, which holds large stakes in Norilsk Nickel and Polyus Gold.

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov's investment vehicle Onexim announced plans Tuesday to sell its 16.6% stake in metals giant Norilsk Nickel to Interros chief Vladimir Potanin for around $10 billion.

Potanin will pay $6.5 billion in cash and transfer his 35.2% stake in Polyus Gold, worth $3.5 billion at the current share price, in exchange for the stake in Norilsk Nickel. The deal is to be finalized before November 15, Onexim said.

Interros earlier said that Potanin held about 30% of shares in Polyus Gold while Prokhorov's stake in Russia's largest gold miner was also estimated at around 30%.

In April, United Company RusAl, the world's largest aluminum producer, finalized a deal to buy a blocking interest of 25% plus one share in Norilsk Nickel from Prokhorov.

The former business partners have been wrangling for months over how to divide their assets.

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