Should we not send Volynets? | Latest news The Moscow Post
03 March 2024

Should we not send Volynets?

Oleg Deripaska's interests may be behind the purchase of mines in Brazil by his former top manager Artem Volynets. Nickel and copper mined there are necessary for his GAZ plant in Nizhny Novgorod. It would also be a winning point in his long-running conflict with Vladimir Potanin.

Russian businessman Artem Volynets, acting in the interests of a company registered in London, acquired nickel and copper mines in Brazil for a billion dollars. The mined ore ultimately, as the project participants say, should go to carmakers in Europe. However, in reality - a possible beneficiary of this deal - also car maker Oleg Deripaska, with whom Volynets has a long relationship.

Details - in the material of the correspondent of The Moscow Post in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

Hong Kong to London

Artem Volynets - was considered one of the most effective managers of Oleg Deripaska's companies, for whom he worked from 2007 to 2013. Until 2010, he led the strategy and corporate development direction of Rusal Global Management. From 2010 to 2013, he was chairman of the board of directors of Rusal's parent company En +, which combines Deripaska's assets in metallurgy and energy.

Volynets also oversaw the merger of two Russian aluminum producers with Glencore's alumina assets in the 2000s. In addition, it was Volynets who helped organize Rusal's initial $2.2 billion public offering in Hong Kong in 2010.

Now Volynets is the executive director of the London company ACG Acquisition. After the deal, he announced that the company would be renamed ACG Electric Metals.

Alumina Glencore has now surfaced too - it is also backing the deal. Glencore, Stellantis and La Mancha will own 51% of the company's share capital, and 49% will be reserved for free circulation, Volynets himself said. Also backing the deal is Volkswagen's subsidiary, which specialises in the production of batteries for electric vehicles.

At the same time, even according to open information, this transaction is strange, because it takes place using SPAC. SPACs are those that raise money through an initial public offering and then merge with a private company to make it public.

According to sources within the company, ACG plans to raise another $300 million in capital from other investors to support the deal. In addition, ACG will consider further similar acquisitions in the future.

Conflict with Norilsk Nickel

Who are these mysterious investors? Despite the fact that Volynets seemed to be no longer a business partner of Deripaska, in fact they maintained relations. It is possible that it was Deripaska who wanted to acquire the mines. This would explain where Volynets got investors who were ready to dump a generous amount. Moreover, now it is more than relevant: the conflict between Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin, which began 15 years ago, has escalated. The companies they own are the main shareholders of Norilsk Nickel.

Disputes between Potanin's Interros and Deripaska's UC Rusal over the company's development strategy began immediately after UC Rusal, which at that time was controlled by Oleg Deripaska (lost control at the end of 2018 after the introduction of US sanctions), bought the company's block stake from Mikhail Prokhorov. UC Rusal accused Norilsk Nickel management of fraud and filed claims against Interros in the London International Arbitration Court for violation of agreements

Deripaska's company, in particular, sought the re-election of the board of directors, the resignation of the general director of the metallurgical company (at that time he was Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, nominated by Potanin) and an increase in dividends. Interros and the management of Norilsk Nickel, in turn, several times offered UC Rusal, burdened by a large debt, to sell a stake in the company, but it did not agree.

The conflict over Norilsk Nickel's assets between Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin is still ongoing, and it makes no sense to retell the details again.

Something else is interesting here. During the corporate conflict in 2018, Artem Volynets was proposed by Oleg Deripaska as an independent director at Norilsk Nickel. Recall that by that time Volynets was no longer working for Deripaska. And this means that the business ties between them could still be strong, if not more.

At that time, the side of Potanin Volynets, which is called "rolled."

Another thing is interesting. Volynets, after leaving Deripaska, worked for a short time in one gold mining company, then was involved in the rescue of Petropavlovsk, and already in 2018 he headed the Chaarat Gold of Martin Anderson, which he owns together with China Nonferrous Metals Int'l Mining.

It is curious that back in April it became known that Chaarat Gold abandoned the idea of ​ ​ acquiring the Amulsara field in Armenia. A month later, there was a message that Xiwang could acquire 60% of the Chaarat gold miner for $250 million.

Xiwang is widely associated with certain Chinese investors.

Are there many events around the former top manager Oleg Deripaska?

And recently there was another piece of news. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin attended a business forum in Shanghai on May 23. As Bloomberg reported, Oleg Deripaska was supposed to be present with him.

This was five days after it became known that Xiwang could acquire 60% of the Chaarat gold miner.

Curiously, as the FT reported today, "ACG Ltd (ACG: LSE) set a new 52-week high during today's trading session when it reached 10.80. During this period, the share price rose 5.74%. "

All these manipulations are followed by the possible interests of Oleg Deripaska. Too familiar with the underscore.

And we have GAZ in our assets, and you?

Quite often, UC Rusal emphasizes that this is the largest Russian aluminum company that simply cannot "live" without state support. Meanwhile, Oleg Deripaska's holding UC Rusal is registered on the island of Jersey, and its traders in Switzerland, which allows Rusal not to pay the entire tax burden to the Russian budget.

But still: why could Deripaska need the metals needed to make cars? The fact is that in addition to all metallurgical companies, he also owns the GAZ plant in Nizhny Novgorod.

Deripaska acquired it back in 2000. For about a year, GAZ has been working under sanctions, due to which in March 2022 the Volkswagen concern terminated the agreement on contract assembly of cars with it, which was in force until 2025. In response, the Russian company demanded through the court to recover 15.6 billion rubles from the former partner - this is how GAZ estimated its losses.

And here it is surprising: Volkswagen resurfaces in a deal with Brazilian mines as one of the key investors. Is this also part of the multi-pass?

After the acquisition, Deripaska repeatedly modernized the plant - mostly he dabbled in the fact that he invited Japanese specialists there. Perhaps this time he wants to produce more modern cars than hulking Gazelles?

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