December 13, 2016 / 6:39 PM / 8 months ago

Nyrstar replaces chief executive after less than two years

BRUSSELS, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Zinc producer Nyrstar said on Tuesday its chief executive, who steered the company away from a venture into mining, has stepped down with immediate effect after less than two years in the top job.

Bill Scotting, who had previously headed steel giant ArcelorMittal's mining division, joined Nyrstar in July 2015 and had initiated the sale of the company's struggling mining business. He is leaving the group to pursue other opportunities, Nyrstar said.

Scotting will be replaced by Hilmar Rode, a German engineer who worked for BHP Billiton and Glencore and has experience in the smelting and zinc businesses, the group added.

Commodities trader Trafigura holds about a quarter of Nyrstar's shares, according to Nyrstar's website, and was seen by analysts as being behind the push to replace the company's management in 2014 and 2015.

At the beginning of this year Trafigura also secured a prepayment zinc supply deal with Nyrstar.

Nyrstar entered the mining business in 2009 to secure its supply of raw materials but a string of operational issues led to the division making a loss.

Since Scotting took over, Nyrstar's shares have lost some 60 percent of their value, according to ThomsonReuters data, and the group raised 274 million euros ($291.10 million) by selling new shares to shore up its balance sheet. ($1 = 0.9413 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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