Norilsk Nickel Closes Oldest Production Facility To Cut Down On Emissions

MMC Norilsk Nickel on Dec. 23 announced the closure of a smelting shop in the town of Nikel in Russia’s Murmansk region following a decision made in Nov. 2019 towards the eradication of sulfur dioxide emissions in the cross-border area with Norway.

It is MMC Norilsk Nickel’s (NILSY) oldest production facility to date. The shutdown has the potential to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at Kola MMC by 50% in 2020 and by 85% by 2021, the company said. Following the closure, the customer and the clean-up services will continue to operate in the shop.

According to the plan, the shop’s building will be cleaned, and materials containing non-ferrous metals wil be collected and sent for recycling within a year after the shutdown.

“Following the closure of the smelting facilities in Nikel, we are modernising our metallurgical production in Monchegorsk, including the construction of new state-of-the-art facilities. It is important for us to ensure that our own production meets modern requirements.” said Norilsk Nickel President Vladimir Potanin.

The nickel and palladium mining and smelting company said it used the previous shutdown of its Nickel Plant in Norilsk in 2016 as a model for the current plans.

Norilsk Nickel expects to spend over 900 million roubles towards measures and social programs for the smelting shop employees between 2020 and 2022.

Just a month back, Societe Generale analyst Sergey Donskoy upgraded the stock from Hold to Buy and reduced the price target from $29.50 to $26.10.

Donskoy said that the year-to-date selloff looked overdone, in light of its solid near-term dividend prospects and accounting for a possible fine related to a fuel spill in May. The analyst believes that the risks are skewed to the upside at this point. (See NILSY stock analysis on TipRanks)

From the rest of the Street, the stock scores a cautiously optimistic analyst consensus of a Moderate Buy based on 1 Buy and 1 Hold. The average analyst price target of $28.05 implies downside potential of 9.4% to current levels.

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