Evraz Highveld Steel: Russian owner brings in local partner

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EVRAZ had sold a stake in its South African unit to a local partner and would continue to grow the business, Russia’s largest steel producer said yesterday. Evraz would retain a controlling stake in Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium after selling 34 percent to Macrovest 147 Proprietary for R289 million, the Russian firm said. Macrovest, led by Barend Petersen, the executive chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines, would also refinance 50 percent of a debt facility Evraz had provided to the unit. Shares in Evraz Highveld slumped as much as 39 percent to an intraday low of R4.20 yesterday. The stock closed at R5.87, a drop of almost 15 percent on the session. Evraz, partially controlled by billionaire Roman Abramovich, bought 25 percent of Highveld Steel from Anglo American in 2006 and grew its stake to 79 percent the following year after buying out Anglo’s remaining shares and stock from Credit Suisse. The total value of those deals was $678m (R7.2 billion). In March last year, it agreed with empowerment group Nemascore to sell a majority stake in the unit for $320m. Nemascore failed to find the capital to fund the deal and in February Evraz said it was engaged in talks with other potential bidders. “We have analysed various options for the further development of Highveld and decided to introduce a strong local partner, who we believe will add significant value and expertise in developing our South African asset in a challenging market,” Evraz chief executive Alexander Frolov said yesterday. – Bloomberg

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