Vekselberg reduces his share in Swiss assets due to US sanctions
The businessman agreed to exchange the assets of Liwet Holding, through which Vekselberg’s company owned the shares of high-tech European concerns, for the assets of his partners Evgeny Olkhovik and Vladimir Kremer.
Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg, who has fallen under US sanctions, reduced his share in the Swiss companies OC Oerlikon and Schmolz + Bickenbach after a deal with minority shareholders and managers from the Renova Group of Companies (where Vekselberg is chairman of the board of directors). This is reported by Reuters referring to a Renova representative.
The agency notes that the corresponding agreement was concluded after Vekselberg was included in the US sanctions list. Thus, the businessman hopes to remove Renova’s Swiss assets from the risks of restrictions.
To do this, the Russian businessman reduced his stake in the engineering company Oerlikon (it decreased to 19.9%; previously, the organizations associated with the entrepreneur owned 43% of the company). In addition, as a Renova representative said, Vekselberg’s share in the steelmaker Schmolz + Bichenbach has fallen from 42% to 12.6%.
Reuters notes that it happened after the minority shareholders of Renova – Evgeny Olkhovik and Vladimir Kremer – increased their shares in Liwet Holding, through which Vekselberg’s company owned the shares of high-tech European concerns. As a result, the effective share of Kremer and Olkhovik in Liwet increased, and therefore, they also indirectly received shares in Oerlikon and Schmolz + Bickenbach, as Reuters cites Liwet Holding. At the same time, the share of Renova, which also got under sanctions, in Liwet fell below the controlling one and is now 44.46%.
Commenting on the information, OC Oerlikon representatives said that the US sanctions did not directly affect the company. However, some financial institutions still need clarification regarding sanctions against Vekselberg. Schmolz + Bichenbach could not promptly comment on the transaction conducted.
Earlier, April 9, after hitting the sanctions list, the chairman of Renova’s board of directors also reduced his share to less than 50% in the Swiss engineering concern Sulzer — the shares were bought by representatives of the Swiss concern. Back then, Renova pointed to wish to “minimize obstacles in Sulzer’s business” as the cause of this. As a result of the transaction, Vekselberg’s company kept a 48.83% stake in Sulzer. Previously, the company's stake was 63.42%. On April 19, the Swiss concern estimated the one-time effect of US sanctions at about 10 million francs (about $10 million).