May 19, 2018 / 8:47 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Schmolz + Bickenbach: Vekselberg-linked Liwet & Renova hold 26.9 pct voting stake in new shareholder scheme

(Adds background on US sanctions, details on new Liwet shareholder scheme)

ZURICH, May 19 (Reuters) - Investment vehicles tied to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, Liwet Holding AG and the Renova Group, hold 26.9 percent of all voting rights in Schmolz+Bickenbach, according to a disclosure report the company received after Renova Group and Schmolz + Bickenbach Beteiligungs GmbH terminated an existing shareholders’ agreement.

“SCHMOLZ+BICKENBACH was informed by the two parties (Renova and Schmolz + Bickenbach Beteiligungs GmbH) that they terminated the existing shareholders’ agreement with regard to the company with immediate effect,” Swiss steelmaker Schmolz + Bickenbach said in a statement on Saturday.

“The corresponding disclosure report shows that Liwet Holding AG and Renova Innovation Technologies Ltd. (Renova Group) together hold a total of 26.90 percent of the voting rights in the company. According to information available to the company, SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH Beteiligungs GmbH holds 10.09 percent of the voting rights.”

On Friday, a spokesman for Renova said Russian Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg’s stake in Schmolz + Bickenbach had dropped to 12.6 percent from 42 percent after a deal with minority shareholders and managers at his holding group.

The arrangement was made after Vekselberg was placed under sanctions in a crackdown by the United States on President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle as retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Minority shareholders Evgeny Olkhovik and Vladimir Kremer increased their stake in Liwet Holding, the Swiss investment vehicle of Vekselberg’s Renova Holding, used to invest in Swiss companies.

Renova managers meanwhile have exercised their options to shares in Liwet. (Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, Editing by William Maclean)

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