Shareholders Spurn KrAZ Directors

Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant owners made dramatic changes in the plant's management Saturday at an extraordinary shareholders meeting that failed to approve a supplemental share emission.

Shareholders with 93.81 percent of Krasnoyarsk stock participated in the meeting, and 99.94 percent of those stockholders voted for the early disbanding of the plant's seven-member board of directors, said Yulia Rostovtseva, the secretary of the shareholders meeting.

Former chairman of the board Anatoly Bykov - currently sitting in a Hungarian jail after Russia requested his extradition on murder, gunrunning and other charges - was not re-elected. In an interview aired recently by Krasnoyarsk television, convicted killer Vladimir Tatarenkov accused Bykov - long seen as the embodiment of Krasnoyarsk Aluminum, or KrAZ - of helping to organize 13 assassinations. Tatarenkov is currently in prison in Greece.

Bykov owns 28 percent of KrAZ shares, which are currently being managed by Switzerland's Aldeco company. Two Aldeco nominees won seats on KrAZ's board of directors: Irina Chekhvalova, elected deputy general director for finance and economics, and Rodin Stavert.

Only two members of the previous board retained their seats: Gennady Druzhinin, who owns 10 percent of KrAZ stock, and former plant director Ivan Turushev.

Metals magnates Lev Chyorny and Vasily Anisimov lost their seats to three less well-known academics: Nikolai Kaluzhsky, adviser to the general director of St. Petersburg's VAMI Institute; Vladimir Nakoryakov, a presidium member of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Leonid Shumilov, director of the thermal dynamics department at Novosibirsk's Institute of Technical Thermal Dynamics.

According to a well-informed source, their nominations were the result of an agreement among Chyorny, Anisimov and Sibneft shareholders, including Roman Abramovich, in particular.

The plan to issue a supplemental share emission was advanced by Kipton Ltd., an offshore company that represents the interests of Chyorny.

With the deal struck between Chyorny and the Sibneft shareholders, the emission was always likely to falter.

Only 1 percent of the shareholders present voted in favor of the supplemental share emission, and the issue of a possible increase in KrAZ's charter capital was removed from the meeting's agenda.

Despite the nearly unanimous voting patterns at Saturday's meeting, the future looks cloudy at KrAZ.

The conditions under which Sibneft's shareholders will purchase a majority stake in KrAZ remain unclear. A representative for Chyorny has announced that Sibneft shareholders will be sold a controlling stake in the plant, but the only thing that is certain so far is that Chyorny and Anisimov will part with their shares. And their combined holdings are insufficient for a controlling stake.

Another major KrAZ stockholder, the head of London-based metals giant Trans-World Group, David Reuben, has yet to announce whether he will sell his holdings in the plant. If he were to follow Chyorny's lead, just over 50 percent of KrAZ shares wouldfall into the hands of Sibneft's stockholders.

But even that stake would not guarantee complete control, because the plant's charter requires a two-thirds vote to enact any decision.