RusAl Seeks New Board At Norilsk

United Company RusAl, controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, on Friday escalated a battle for control of Norilsk Nickel by calling for an extraordinary shareholders meeting to oust the board.

The board, controlled by billionaire Vladimir Potanin, has "abused corporate governance principles and presided over the destruction of significant shareholder value," RusAl said in a statement. The aluminum miner owns 25 percent of Norilsk.

Norilsk confirmed in a statement that it received a request from RusAl for a meeting and said its board would consider the request. Nina Dementsova, a spokeswoman for Potanin's Interros holding, declined to comment on RusAl's actions.

Potanin and Deripaska are divided on how to develop Norilsk, with Interros favoring a merger with copper, iron ore and uranium producers and RusAl preferring to limit the combination to the two companies. Norilsk's shares have fallen 76 percent this year, compared with a 63 percent drop in the MICEX Index.

RusAl intends to propose Fiat chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Kinross Gold chief executive Tye Burt and James Goodwin as nonexecutive directors on a new sboard, it said.

Changing the board "should provide for Norilsk's sustainable development and fair value of the company in the interests of all shareholders," RusAl CEO Alexander Bulygin said in a separate statement.