The full version of press release follows here:
N.V. ("NWR" or "the Company"), Central Europe's leading hard coal producer, announces that and RPG Industries SE ("RPGI") have mutually agreed not to proceed with the proposed acquisition by of RPGI's shareholding in Ferrexpo plc ("Ferrexpo"), the Ukrainian iron ore and pellet producer.
In its meeting earlier today, the Board of ("the Board") reviewed its decision of October 2008 to accept the offer made to it by RPGI to acquire its shareholding of approximately 24.99% in Ferrexpo. The Board noted the current challenging environment for the steel and coal sectors and continuing low visibility regarding the global economic conditions for the remainder of 2009. Consequently the Board decided that notwithstanding the strong industrial and strategic rationale underpinning this investment, it would be prudent not to proceed at this time in order to retain operational flexibility.
Mike Salamon, Executive Chairman of said: "Ferrexpo is Europe's largest iron ore pellet producer and has one of the world's largest iron ore deposits. We continue to believe that Ukraine offers exciting opportunities for and that both companies are complementary in the carbon steel raw materials business. However, we recognise the limited visibility with respect to how 2009 will evolve and understand our shareholders' concerns regarding the timing of this acquisition. Nevertheless, we continue to believe that the long-term outlook for both coking coal and iron ore remains attractive in the region and we will continue to work closely with RPGI and Ferrexpo to explore all future strategic options."
The Board has over recent weeks consulted with its shareholders and lenders and taken their views into account in reaching its decision.
RPGI has expressed its intention to continue holding its stake in Ferrexpo with a view to exploring the long-term strategic options in the regional steel making raw materials sector. In that respect, RPGI will continue its dialogue with both and Ferrexpo.
The Board has invited Kostyantin Zhevago, the controlling shareholder and Chief Executive Officer of Ferrexpo, to join the Board of as a non-independent non-executive director. His nomination to the Board will be proposed for approval by shareholders at NWR's Annual General Meeting on 28 April 2009.
Mike Salamon, Executive Chairman of and Marek Jelinek, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of have both been invited to join the Board of Ferrexpo.
RPGI supports the reciprocal board seats and both and RPGI believe that this arrangement will prove beneficial to both and Ferrexpo.