Goldman Sachs quits as Rusal listing adviser

Internal disagreements linked to bank's withdrawal as BoA Merril Lynch takes over Hong Kong float role
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The Independent Online

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has replaced Goldman Sachs as a key adviser on the $30bn (£18bn) stock market listing of Russian aluminium giant United Company Rusal.

Goldman has worked with BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse and Rothschild on the Hong Kong listing for months. The bank was named as joint bookrunner on the draft prospectus, the document that is used to file aflotation.

It is unclear why Goldman walked away, though several banking sources said that the decision was mutual. One suggestion is that there was disagreement between the London, Moscow and New York offices on how to proceed. Several sources said that Goldman is still on good terms with Rusal.

Goldman is understood to have left about a month ago, while Merrill Lynch has joined more recently.

At one stage, Goldman had been lined up to take one of the two top jobs, as global co-ordinator beside Credit Suisse. Bookrunner is a more junior role. However, by the time of the draft prospectus last month, BNP Paribas was listed with Credit Suisse.

Rusal is looking to list by December. Run by Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch who is friends with the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, the miner will also have a secondary listing on Euronext, the Paris-based exchange.

The group plans to list about 10 per cent of its shares, allowing $2bn-to $3bn to be traded on the stock exchange. London, which is the centre of the financial mining community, had hoped to attract Rusal, but Mr Deripaska chose Hong Kong due to its proximity to China, which is a major aluminium consumer. A spokesman for Rusal declined to comment.

In other mining news, Ftse 100 giant Anglo American is set to sell the international assets of Tarmac, its building materials subsidiary. It is understood that Anglo will retain the UK business, which represents the bulk of Tarmac, until the economy recovers. The board believes that it can get better bids for a clean, UK-centred business when private equity and potential trade buyers have more money in a few years.

The international assets are expected to be sold by geography, meaning that there could be five separate disposal processes, in a move that could attract local buyers such as Lafarge in France. "Anglo is trying to sell the international businesses asset by asset," said a market source.

Anglo hinted at reconsidering the sale of Tarmac in a statement in October. Tarmac was up for sale for around £3bn until Anglo's chief executive, Cynthia Carroll, pulled the auction in early 2008. However, it did not include the group in its list of definite sales, which included fertiliser business Copebras and zinc assets. Vale, the Brazilian miner, is the favourite to buy Copebras.

Anglo is worth more than £30bn. Its shares closed at 2386p on Friday, up 1.8 per cent on start of trading.

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