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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vanadium Producer Faces Bankruptcy Proceedings

The Sverdlovsk Arbitration Court has begun bankruptcy proceedings against Kachkanar Vanadium Mining Complex in response to a suit brought against it by creditor Krasnouralskmezhraigaz.

Kachkanar, the nation's sole producer of vanadium with annual sales of more than $300 million, owes 22 million rubles for natural gas deliveries to Krasnouralskmezhraigaz, which has ties to the combine's current director Andrei Kozitsyn.

As the first stage of bankruptcy proceedings against Kachkanar, which is based in the Urals, the court on March 30 tapped local Federal Bankruptcy Service chief Oleg Kozyrev to determine who Kachkanar's creditors are and how much is owed them.

Kozyrev has until the court meets again on June 19 to complete his list. At that time, the court may decide to introduce outside management, removing control of the combine from the hands of its shareholders, about 73 percent of whom support Kachkanar's former director Dzhailol Khaidarov.

Kozitsyn replaced Khaidarov in late January after a controversial board meeting at which he was named director. He seized the plant with armed guards in the wee hours of the morning.

Khaidarov has vigorously protested the takeover, filing appeals with Moscow and Sverdlovsk regional authorities. Kachkanar shareholders held a meeting March 4 and replaced the plant's board with members supportive of Khaidarov, but the new board has been physically barred from entering the plant premises.

Kozitsyn is backed by regional metals magnate Iskander Makhmudov, who has been looking for some time on expanding his Urals Mining and Metals Co., which includes the Chusovskoi and Uralelektomed metals plants.

The new Kachkanar management has now called another extraordinary shareholders meeting for Saturday to elect another board.