Boardroom control in the balance as shareholders vie for Norilsk

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The Independent Online

Fears are growing that only one independent candidate will win a place on the board of Norilsk Nickel, as the battle for control of the $51.7bn (£26bn) mining giant intensifies tomorrow.

UC Rusal, Norilsk's Russian peer, which has a 25 per cent stake, wants to create a national champion by merging the companies. But Interros, headed by Vladimir Potanin, with 30 per cent of the shares, is resisting the move.

The annual general meeting tomorrow will see nine directors voted on to the board. Although three candidates are considered to be independent of both Rusal and Interros, only one, Guy de Selliers, is thought to be guaranteed enough votes to secure a directorship.

The other candidates, Tye Burt and Heinz Schimmelbusch, are thought to be splitting each other's votes, which would allow Interros to gain five directors and thus the balance of the board. One investor adviser has said voters should back Mr Burt to ensure a second independent is elected.