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Mega-polluter pays record high dividends

Pollution from the chimneys in Nikel moves towards the Norwegian border, while the snow around the plant is black of fallout of heavy metals, sulphur dioxide and other pollutions from the plant.

Nickel industry in Siberia and on the Kola Peninsula is very good business for investors. Norilsk Nickel set to pay €2,1 billion in dividends for 2014.

Nickel mining in Zapolyarny, nickel matte production in Nikel and nickel and copper production in Monchegorsk, Norilsk Nickel’s subsidiary Kolskaya GMK is not only the cornerstone in the three towns on the Kola Peninsula, but also a major player in the regional economy in Murmansk Oblast.

However, it is the shareholders of Norilsk Nickel that can smile all the way to the bank these days. The company’s Bord of Directors proposes to pay 670 rubles per share in dividends after yet another good year for business.

“I would like to praise the efficiency and professionalism of the management, which are reflected in some of the best results Norilsk Nickel has shown last year,” says Gareth Penny, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Norilsk Nickel in a press-release.

Main shareholder in the company is Vladimir Potanin, who recently climbed to the top of the list of Russia’s wealthiest businessmen. His estimated fortune is now $14,4 billion, BarentsObserver reported in March citing Forbes.

In addition to the dividends, Norilsk Nickel last year sold of non-core assets, increasing the net amount. Counted in rubles, after the currency rate changed significantly towards the end of 2014, the amount became even more favourable. Paying 227 billion rubles (€2,1 billion) is three times up from the 74 billion rubles (€1,3 billion) paid in 2013, Vedomosti reports. 

Despite being one of the wealthiest non-petroleum companies in Russia, Norilsk Nickel continues to be the largest air-polluter in the Arctic with its factories in Norilsk on the Taimyr Peninsula, as well as the by far largest air-polluter in the Barents Region with the factories in the Murmansk region. 

Alone the company units in Nikel and Zapolyarny, located along the border to Norway and Finland, emit about 100,000 tons of sulfur per year. That alone is about five times more than Norway’s total sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions.

In the first days of April, the concentration of SO2 in the town of Nikel exceeded the maximum allowed level by up to 12 times, BarentsObserver reported.

For Vladimir Potanin, focus will still be on creating value for shareholder.

“The Company management will focus on further improving the efficiency of business and creating value for our shareholders”, Norilsk Nickel CEO Vladimir Potanin,” says in a press-release commenting on the 2014 dividend.

Monchegorsk industrial complex

Norilsk Nickel’s industrial complex in Monchegorsk on Russia’s Kola Peninsula.