Evraz Group SA, Russia’s second-largest steelmaker, confirmed the company is considering the future of its 40 percent stake in coal producer OAO Raspadskaya.
“Evraz Group SA notes media speculation regarding the potential disposal of Evraz’s 40 percent indirect equity stake,” the company said in a statement today. “Evraz confirms that it is considering options with respect to this stake.”
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and his partners in Evraz are seeking to sell their holdings in Raspadskaya, two people familiar with the matter said yesterday. Evraz and Raspadskaya’s management each plan to sell their 40 percent stakes in the Kemerovo, Siberia-based company and hired Deutsche Bank AG and Morgan Stanley to find a buyer, the people said, declining to be identified because the matter is private.
“Raspadskaya’s management that together with Evraz holds” an “80 percent equity stake in Raspadskaya is providing necessary support to Evraz in its strategic review,” the coal company said in a separate e-mailed statement today.
Evraz has been seeking to cut the $7.9 billion of debt it built up through acquisitions in North America and elsewhere from 2007. The company’s stake in Raspadskaya was worth about 60 billion rubles ($2.1 billion) by the close of trading in Moscow today. Raspadskaya declined 3.5 percent to 192.40 rubles.
The company, Russia’s largest producer of steelmaking coal in 2009, slid to fifth place last year after cutting output 32 percent to 7.16 million metric tons as deadly blasts in May crippled its flagship mine in Siberia and killed 91 people.
The producer fired the head of the mine last year after the series of explosions that prompted Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to rebuke the company’s safety record.
Nobody at Deutsche Bank or Morgan Stanley authorized to speak to the media could be reached when Bloomberg called their Moscow offices seeking comment on the sale yesterday.