According to one of the pair’s bookrunners, Russian moguls Mikhail Prokhorov and Viktor Vekselberg sold their combined 3-percent stake in Russian Federation’s aluminium behemoth U.C. Rusal yesterday.
The unidentified bookrunner who spoke to Reuters on the subject indicated that the sale was an accelerated bookbuilding (ABB) in the amount of US$315 million for roughly 456 million shares, which was towards the cheap end of the HK$5.40-HK$5.55 (US$0.69-US$0.71) range. The price included a 7.5-percent discount below the market prior to the deal, the bookmaker elaborated.
Prokhorov sold 0.7 percent of Rusal’s outstanding shares, while Vekselberg sold 2.3 percent, the bookrunner explained. After the sale Prokhorov’s stake in Rusal totaled 6 percent, while Vekselberg’s position in the company amounted to 20.5 percent.
Experts believe the move was likely done to boost the liquidity of Rusal’s shares in Moscow, greasing the skids for the firm’s addition to the highly-respected MSCI Russia Index.
According to a note published by VTB Capital yesterday, releasing the shares in question upon the open market would lead to a free float for Rusal of 16.4 percent. However, their opinion is that the firm’s inclusion in the MCSI Russia Index next month is unlikely. VTB believes the more likely scenario has Rusal added to the Index in May, provided other factors are met.
This is the latest move by Rusal and its parent company En+ Group to enhance its position on global trading exchanges. Last week Oleg Deripaska was reported as planning to list the energy and aluminium company on the London Stock Exchange in November as an effort at raising US$1.5 billion to put towards retiring En+’s US$5 billion in debt. If launched, the listing would be of the largest Russian company since economic sanctions were levied against the country due to its recent actions in Ukraine. In addition, energy conglomerate CEFC China Energy Company Limited has long been rumored to be considering snapping up something close to US$500 million in En+ stock if and when it was offered.