Prices and Purchases Double BasEl Worth

Oleg Deripaska, the country's richest man, almost doubled the net asset value of Basic Element last year as revenues increased 45 percent on a mix of internal growth, acquisitions and high commodity prices.

BasEl, whose interests span metals, energy, cars, construction, finance and aviation, said Thursday that revenues rose to $26.8 billion last year, while the value of the group's assets grew by 96 percent to $45 billion.

By comparison, revenues were slightly more than half those of Rosneft's $49.2 billion last year but surpassed the $17.1 billion posted by Norilsk Nickel.

BasEl CEO Gulzhan Moldazhanova told reporters that revenue growth in percentage terms would remain in double digits this year, though might not match the level of increase seen in 2007.

BasEl's energy sector, known as En+ Group, was by far the largest contributor to revenues. Sales grew 49 percent in 2007 to $16.2 billion, supported by the creation of the world's largest aluminum producer, United Company RusAl.

RusAl acquired a one-quarter stake in Norilsk in April. Asked about further integration of the two companies, including a possible three-way merger with billionaire Alisher Usmanov, Moldazhanova said no decision would be made before an annual general meeting of Norilsk shareholders Monday.

RusAl has nominated three representatives to the board at Norilsk: Deripaska, chief executive Alexander Bulygin and chairman Viktor Vekselberg.

Moldazhanova also said the company planned to expand in the coal, oil and nuclear industries to "balance" its energy assets. "We'd like to strike a balance in our energy portfolio," she said. "We still don't have a natural gas asset, our oil output is tiny."

BasEl plans to bid for the Mezhegeyskoye coal deposit in the Tuva region, next to Mongolia, and may split the project with an unspecified partner, Moldazhanova said. The company is also in talks with state corporation Rosatom to develop uranium deposits in Russia and Mongolia, where it has more than 150 mining licenses, she said.

BasEl's biggest potential acquisition in energy, of Russneft, still requires clearance from the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, she said. The service, which has been reviewing the transaction for almost a year, has asked BasEl for more information, she said.

Manufacturing, including BasEl's automotive division, was the second-largest contributor to revenues. Sales grew 37 percent year on year to $6.2 billion.

Financial services contributed $1.9 billion, up 30 percent.

The group's construction business contributed $1.3 billion in revenues as it agreed a $20 billion investment deal with St. Petersburg to run until 2015 and started projects related to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. BasEl is a one-quarter owner of Austrian construction company Strabag and owns just under 10 percent of German firm Hochtief.

BasEl's resources division, comprising mining and forestry assets, contributed $630 million in revenues.

The group's new aviation sector added $272 million in revenues this year. BasEl owns four airports in southern Russia and is considering acquiring and developing more airports throughout Russia.