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    S&P may downgrade Norilsk Nickel after new offer to RusAl

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    Standard & Poor's international rating agency left Norilsk Nickel's long-term BBB-rating and ruAA+ rating on a national scale on the CreditWatch list with a Negative outlook following its offer to aluminum giant RusAl to buy 20% of its shares for $12.8 billion, the agency said on Tuesday.

    Standard & Poor's international rating agency left Norilsk Nickel's long-term BBB-rating and ruAA+ rating on a national scale on the CreditWatch list with a Negative outlook following its offer to aluminum giant RusAl to buy 20% of its shares for $12.8 billion, the agency said on Tuesday.

    The agency put Norilsk's ratings on the CreditWatch list last December, when Norilsk made its first offer to buy RusAl's 25% stake in the mining company for $12 billion. The current offer is valid until March 4.

    "The rating action reflects our view that if the offer is accepted, Norilsk Nickel's financials will not correspond to the BBB- rating any more. In addition, the acquisition can also influence the company's liquidity because sources of financing are unclear now," S&P credit analyst Yelena Anankina said.

    RusAl, controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, and Interros, an investment arm of another Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin, have long been at odds over control of Norilsk Nickel. RusAl says the Norilsk board is dominated by officials linked with Interros after an AGM last summer, where RusAl lost one board seat, while Interros increased its representation.

    MOSCOW, February 15 (RIA Novosti)

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