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Norilsk Nickel suspends share buyback on court order

On Monday 7 February 2011, 12:50 EST

Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium, said on Monday that it has suspended an estimated $3.5 billion buyback programme following a Caribbean court order.

A court in St. Christopher and Nevis has prohibited Norilsk Nickel's Corbiere unit from "taking any corporate action to complete the tender offer" for shares of Norilsk Nickel, the metals company said in a statement.

The buyback offer is opposed by aluminium giant UC Rusal which holds a 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel.

Corbiere plans to contest the court order, Norilsk Nickel said.

Under the tender, the share buyback began on January 27th and was to continue until February 10t. The buyback is estimated to be worth $3.5 billion.

Norilsk Nickel has been at the centre of a shareholder feud between billionaire Oleg Deripaska's UC Rusal and billionaire Vladimir Potanin's Interros, which also holds a 25 percent stake in the nickel producer.