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Swiss steel company reduces ties to Vekselberg

Swiss steel company reduces ties to Vekselberg

ZURICH: The board of specialist steel manufacturer Schmolz + Bickenbach has distanced itself from major shareholder Viktor Vekselberg and his investment group Renova in the wake of United States sanctions against Russian economic interests.

Chairman Edwin Eichler will stand for re-election at next week’s annual general meeting, but no longer as a representative of Renova, the Swiss firm announced on Monday. Vladimir Polienko will stand down, leaving Marco Musetti as the only Renova-appointed representative on the board if elected.

The move to reduce the Schmolz + Bickenbach board from seven members to six was approved by all major shareholders, the company said.

Vekselberg and Renova were targeted by US sanction afterbeing named as ‘specially designated nationals’ (SDN). Sanctions were imposed in retaliation for Russian actions in Syria, Ukraine, Crimea and Europe.

Any other company at least 50% owned by SDNs could also be hit with sanctions. Vekselberg owns around 42% of Schmolz + Bickenbach through investment groups, but the Swiss company still saw share prices hit by its association with the Russian.