Deripaska Setback in PPF Case

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska lost a court case brought by Czech fund PPF Investments over his insurer Ingosstrakh.

The Moscow Arbitration Court upheld a claim by Prague-based PPF Investments private equity group that a decision made at an Ingosstrakh shareholders' meeting to quadruple its share capital wasn't legitimate, the Czech fund said late Tuesday on its web site.

Sergei Rybak, a spokesman for Deripaska's Basic Element holding company, said it would appeal the decision within a month. Basic Element units and Deripaska hold around 60 percent of the insurer.

Ingosstrakh shareholders voted to boost its equity at an extraordinary meeting on Oct. 8, to which PPF Investments says it was not invited, a claim Basic Element denies. PPF Investments had acquired a 38.5 percent stake in Ingosstrakh a month earlier from Deripaska's partner Alexander Mamut.

"Ingosstrakh needs cash to pursue its acquisition program in the former Soviet republics, including Armenia and Central Asian countries," Rybak said.

PPF Investment said it hoped the court decision would be the beginning of a "constructive dialogue" with the majority shareholders of Ingosstrakh, according to the statement.

Italy's biggest insurer, Assicurazioni Generali, has since acquired half of PPF's stake in Ingosstrakh through a venture.