Usmanov's Miner Pulls IPO Plans

Metalloinvest, the country's biggest iron ore producer, has scrapped plans to hold an IPO this year, its chief executive was quoted as saying Thursday.

The move will complicate the miner's development of the huge Udokan copper deposit and delay a planned merger with Norilsk Nickel.

Metalloinvest, part-owned by Alisher Usmanov, had planned to float up to 25 percent this fall in New York or London, according to media reports.

"There's a serious crisis in the world, and there is simply no sense in holding an IPO," CEO Maxim Basov said, RIA-Novosti reported. If conditions improve, Metalloinvest is prepared to go public "at short notice" next year, Basov added.

Metalloinvest spokeswoman Olga Paleva said she was unable to comment on the delay or any other changes in the company's investment program.

The delay will likely spoil Metalloinvest's plans to merge assets with London-traded Norilsk, Alfa Bank metals and mining analyst Maxim Semenovykh said Thursday. He valued Metalloinvest at $25 billion. "Norilsk's minority shareholders are unlikely to agree to merge with something absolutely unknown to the market," he said.

And the company needs funds to develop Udokan, in which it has pledged to invest $3.9 billion. "It will be harder for Metalloinvest to invest in new projects, as it will not attract the money from the market for at least a year, and it has become harder to borrow from banks," Semenovykh said.