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A lifetime of innovation

Deripaska Says Russian Laws Hurt Majority Shareholders

By Torrey Clark
Aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska railed against corporate law on Friday, saying he is finding it difficult to consolidate his holdings.

"In Russia, majority shareholders rights do not exist," the multibillionaire told reporters. "Consolidation, as such, is not possible on the basis of existing legislation.

"The legal base is continuously narrowing the space for maneuvering," said Deripaska, many of whose acquisitions have been accompanied by accusations of dirty tricks, including manipulation of the courts and predatory behavior.

Nonetheless, Deripaska said his industrial holding Base Element plans to finish restructuring its assets by April 2003.

Russian Aluminum, or RusAl, of which Deripaska said he owns 50 percent, should be restructured by October and will then vote on moving the subsidiary companies to a single share.

Deripaska called for the merger of Krasnoyarsk Hydrelectric and Irkutskenergo. Talks with power monopoly Unified Energy Systems have not yet yielded results, he said. RusAl is believed to control large stakes in the plants, its main suppliers of energy.

Also by October, Base Element plans to transform its automotive division Ruspromavto into a new, simplified company, Russkiye Mashiny. BasEl is in talks with Iveco, part of the Fiat Group, as a potential strategic partner, Deripaska said.

At top-10 insurer Ingosstrakh, BasEl plans to lower its stake from 76 percent to 25 percent, he said. BasEl is in talks with insurance companies MAKS and RESO-Garantiya, a foreign investor and Alexander Mamut, who recently bought into Troika Dialog, which manages a 49 percent stake in insurer Rosgosstrakh, he said.

BasEl also plans to continue to acquire additional assets in the pulp and paper industry through Kontinental-Management. Deripaska announced in July that BasEl, with partners, plans to buy up the countrys 32 principal pulp and carton plants.

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