Implenia, Chigirinsky Form Property Venture

Implenia, Switzerland's largest builder, said Monday that billionaire Shalva Chigirinsky bought a 2.7 percent stake and that a joint venture with the Russian investor's building company was founded to develop Russian property and infrastructure projects.

Russian Land Implenia will be split evenly between the two owners, Implenia chairman Anton Affentranger and RLI chief executive Urs Haener said.

Implenia is battling a takeover attempt by Isle of Man-based Laxey Partners. Switzerland's Takeover Board delayed its approval of the bid Nov. 23, saying it needed more information. The two parties in the Russian venture are entering into a longer-term partnership that goes beyond the joint venture.

"We chose Implenia because of its expertise in project management and a huge know-how in infrastructure," Haener said at a news conference in Zurich. "We prefer to pay a bit more for the right quality."

Russian Land, majority-owned by Chigirinsky, bought a 2.71 percent stake of Implenia, and each company will appoint a representative to the other's board.

Chigirinsky is director and joint largest shareholder of London-based oil company Sibir Energy.

Russian Land bought its stake at 39 francs ($34.75) per share, Implenia said. Haener, a Swiss citizen who previously worked at Sibir, called it a "fair" price.