MOSCOW, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin has returned a 2 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel to Roman Abramovich and his partners, according to a source in a holding which manages Potanin’s assets and a source familiar with the matter.

The original sale of the stake was disputed in a London court by aluminium producer Rusal, which owns a stake in Nornickel.

Rusal co-owner Oleg Deripaska wanted to stop Abramovich from selling the stake to Potanin, saying the sale would violate a 2012 shareholder agreement.

In June, a London High Court judgment sided with Deripaska, saying that Abramovich, best known in Britain as the owner of the Chelsea Premier League soccer club, did not have the right to sell the stake to Potanin.

“The deal has been reversed,” the source at Interros, the holding which manages Potanin’s assets, said on Monday. “The decision about a possible appeal will be taken after (we) receive the statement of reasons from the London court.”“The deal has been reversed.”

Interros and Millhouse, which manages Abramovich’s assets, declined to comment.

In March, Potanin purchased the 2 percent stake in Nornickel from Abramovich for about $800 million and increased his holding in the miner to 32.9 percent. He promised to return the stake to Abramovich if the London court ruled in against the deal.

The sources did not disclose the terms of the deal reversal.

The London judge has yet to detail his reasons. In June, he said it would be published “at a later date”.

Norilsk is one of the world’s biggest producers of nickel and palladium.

A long-running battle between Deripaska and Potanin for control of the company was overshadowed by U.S. sanctions imposed against Deripaska and some of his companies, including Rusal, in April.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Jason Neely)

Posted by