Vekselberg Invited Into Metals Deal

Billionaires Alisher Usmanov and Vladimir Potanin have invited fellow billionaire Viktor Vekselberg to participate in creating a large mining group, Usmanov and Vekselberg's Renova firm said Tuesday.

"We [Potanin and I] agreed that we want to try to create a large independent mining group," Usmanov told reporters.

"We have already invited BasEl, and we have now invited Vekselberg. He agreed," he said.

Vekselberg's investment vehicle, Renova, later confirmed that it would soon begin talks with Usmanov and Potanin over creating the joint metals and mining group.

"Vekselberg has definitely agreed to take part in these consultations," Renova spokesman Andrei Shtorkh said.

BasEl, or Basic Element, is an investment vehicle belonging to billionaire Oleg Deripaska.


Uzbek-born Usmanov is the founder of Metalloinvest, which owns Russia's two largest iron ore mines and has already agreed a tie-up with Potanin, who owns more than a quarter of metals giant Norilsk Nickel.

On May 28, the two announced their plans to create a "global mining leader" and said they had invited Deripaska, who controls the world's top aluminum firm, United Company RusAl, and holds a 25 percent stake in Norilsk, to join them.

Renova is also a shareholder in RusAl.

Potanin and Usmanov said at the time that they wanted to create a global leader in the sector in the next five years with investments estimated at $50 billion to $60 billion.

Russian companies, war chests overflowing from a long-running boom in energy and commodities, have been banding together to increase their stake in global markets, tacitly encouraged by the Kremlin.