United Co. Rusal, owner of a 28 percent stake in OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, expects the nickel producer to maintain its approach to dividend payments, said billionaire Chief Executive Officer Oleg Deripaska.
“Norilsk will keep its policy,” Deripaska, who runs the world’s largest aluminum producer, said in an interview with Mark Barton on Bloomberg Television from the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China.
Norilsk shareholders are discussing potential changes to dividend payments after declines in nickel and palladium prices, three people with knowledge of the talks said last month. The dividends help Moscow-based Rusal to service its debt, which was $10.45 billion at the end of June.
While Norilsk is reviewing strategy and needs a disciplined approach to planning in response to market events, Deripaska said he doesn’t expect “much change” in its payout policy.
Norilsk, the world’s biggest producer of nickel, last year agreed to pay as much as $9 billion in dividends for 2012 through 2014 as part of an accord to end a four-year dispute between shareholders Rusal, Roman Abramovich’s Millhouse Capital and billionaire Vladimir Potanin. The company declared about $2 billion of dividends for last year.
Norilsk management has made proposals including linking payments to the dividend yield and guaranteeing the distribution from profits left over once investment needs are fulfilled, the people said last month.
Norilsk’s press-service declined to comment.
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