Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska has agreed in principle to reduce his stake in Russia’s En+ Group, which manages his aluminium and hydropower assets, to less than 50%, CNN reports. The move, by which the businessman is ceding control over the group, comes after U.S. authorities suggested easing of sanctions if he did so.
Both Deripaska and En+ were targeted by sweeping U.S. sanctions on some of Russia’s biggest companies and businessmen on 6 April. The measures were aimed at allies of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to punish Moscow for its alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other so-called malign activities.
Deripaska, who currently has a 65% stake in the company and the aluminium giant Rusal, in which En+ owns a 48 percent stake, were all hit by the sanctions.
“Following a series of discussions with the company’s independent chairman, Lord Barker of Battle, Oleg Deripaska has agreed in principle to the chairman’s request that Deripaska reduce his shareholding in the company to below 50 percent,” En+ said in the statement.
Deripaska also agreed with the chairman’s proposal that he resign from the board and consent to the appointment of new directors to give the board an independent majority, it said.
Washington said earlier this week that it might remove Rusal from its sanctions list if Deripaska ceded control.
En+ also said it asked the U.S. for an extension of the deadline for operations with En+’s debt, equity or other holdings from 7 May to 31 October or another appropriate date.
Without the extension, En+’s ability to maintain its listing in London will be materially impacted, it said.