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27

Another Russian Tycoon Loses Firm Ground

Business tycoon Vladimir Potanin is getting ready to sell his main asset, Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel

Business tycoon Vladimir Potanin is getting ready to sell his main asset, Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel, to state-owned diamond monopoly Alrosa, Russian Internet business daily Vzglyad reported on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

A source close to Alrosa?s management told the nespaper that in principle the acquisition was approved at a meeting between Russia?s Finance Minister (and chairman of Alrosa?s supervisory council) Alexei Kudrin, the president of the Republic of Yakutia (where Alrosa?s production is located) Vyacheslav Shtyrov and president of the diamond monopoly Alexander Nichiporuk.

Market experts say that Potanin?s InterRos Holding could receive as much as $8-9 billion for the asset.

Observers point out that Norilsk Nickel is not the first of Potanin?s assets that has been put up for sale. Just recently InterRos sold its 25.94% stake in a joint venture with TNK-BP to state-owned Rosneft Oil Company as well as a 22.43% stake in engineering giant Power Machines to power grid monopoly Unified Energy System.

Experts suggest that this may mean that the owner of InterRos, Vladimir Potanin, is losing political influence in Russia.