Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire chief executive of the Russian aluminium giant Rusal, appeared to dismiss the prospect of arch-rival Viktor Vekselberg besting him in an arbitration case heading for London yesterday.
Mr Vekselberg, who quit his job as chairman of Rusal last month after a disagreement with its 47.4 per cent shareholder, Mr Deripaska is bringing a case against his former boss, his former company and Glencore, the commodities giant.
In his capacity as co-head of Sual Partners, the investment firm which owns 15.8 per cent of Rusal, Mr Vekselberg alleges that a £29bn, six-year deal in which Rusal will supply Glencore with aluminium and alumina was agreed without his consent, violating his firm's right to a veto.
However, Mr Deripaska yesterday said it was a good deal for Rusal. "I can't see that the contract was bad because it was at a premium." He added: "I can't see this dispute as something that may change Rusal's strategy... but there will be arbitrage and we will see," he added, pointing out that Mr Vekselberg "doesn't want to sell his stake. He seems very happy to be a shareholder".
A spokesman for Sual said: "The contracts make Rusal too much dependent on Glencore, basically turning the company into Glencore's production unit", adding that the choice of the trader was not made "on a competitive basis but behind the scenes".
The spokesman said Sual had insisted on a tender among several international traders, including Glencore.