MMK Says Not Buying Mechel Coal

Mechel, majority-owned by billionaire Igor Zyuzin, halted deliveries of coking coal to Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works last month after the two failed to agree on a price and 1 billion rubles ($31 million) of bills were left unpaid.

"We stopped buying Mechel's coal quite a while ago because we didn't agree on a price," Yevgeny Kovtunov, head of investor relations at Magnitogorsk, or MMK, said Friday.

MMK spokeswoman Yelena Azovtseva confirmed a Vedomosti report that the company owed Mechel more than 1 billion rubles.

Magnitogorsk, which previously sourced as much as 20 percent of its coking coal from Mechel, has enough of the fuel after cutting output as economic growth slowed, Azovtseva said.

Mechel spokesman Ilya Zhitomirsky declined to comment.

Mechel increased a claim in the Chelyabinsk Regional Court against Magnitogorsk to almost 1 billion rubles Thursday from the 613 million rubles filed in November, the court's web site showed.

Steelmakers cut output to half of their capacity by December as demand dropped and companies struggled to get loans. Mechel shareholders voted against the company's plan to open an $85 million line of credit with state lender Gazprombank that would have used a stake in the steel firm's biggest mill as collateral, the firm said Friday.