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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Aluminum Baron Chyorny Dismissed by Trans-World




The Russian papers are calling it a divorce, but most analysts seem to be yawning at the news that Lev Chyorny, once one of Russia's most powerful aluminum barons, has been dismissed by the London-based Trans-World Group.


The company became an influential presence on the Russian aluminum market in the early 1990s, say analysts, but has recently begun to cede its position to rival Sibirsky Aluminum.


"It's difficult to say what impact this will have on the Russian aluminum industry," said a British-based metals analyst, who declined to be named.


"Personally, I can't see that it makes much difference at the moment," he added.


Recent months have seen the reversal of fortunes for other key aluminum industry executives, such as Anatoly Bykov, who controlled the giant Krasnoyarsk aluminum smelter, but is now awaiting extradition from Hungary on murder charges.


Lev Chyorny, and his equally well-known brother, Mikhail, has been linked to organized crime in the past, although he was never convicted for any offense.


Segodnya, a Russian daily, said Chyorny played a key role in opening the Russian aluminum industry to the West in general, and to the Trans-World Group in particular.


"It is obvious that Lev Chyorny was more than just another manager - he was the one that blazed the trail for TWG in Russia, and provided the company with control over the most lucrative pieces of the Russian aluminum market," the paper said.


However, it went on to say that Chyorny was largely responsible for TWG's declining political clout in Russia, despite his attempts to align himself with Boris Berezovsky, the famous tycoon and consummate political insider.


"The center of gravity in the aluminum industry is shifting towards Sibirsky Aluminum," the British analyst said.