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Capital Markets

Corporate finance: Rusal faces credibility test

In the past year Russian aluminium company Rusal has undertaken a big debt restructuring and a record-breaking IPO. Yet controversy stalks its every move. Sudip Roy talks to one of its senior officials about the firm’s future.

Rusal's biggest shareholder and chief executive, Oleg Deripaska

Oleg Deripaska claimed a $60 million bonus for completion of Rusal’s IPO even though the deal has since performed poorly

THERE ARE TWO widely held views of Rusal. One is that the world’s biggest aluminium producer is a highly leveraged company, whose fortune is tied to volatile commodity prices and whose every move seems to be dogged by controversy. Its biggest shareholder and chief executive, Oleg Deripaska, has a $4 billion lawsuit hanging over him, although the case does not directly involve Rusal. Another leading shareholder and the company’s chairman, Viktor Vekselberg, was fined a record SFr40 million ($37.5 million) in January by the Swiss authorities for violating disclosure rules when he built a stake in industrial group Oerlikon – a charge he denies and intends to challenge. The other view is that the Russian company is a well-managed, low-cost operation, with a fantastic business whose financial standing is back on track after a multi-billion dollar debt restructuring and groundbreaking IPO.

"Rusal is a victim of negative PR," says a banker close to the firm.

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