Photo: Thomas Nilsen and Nornickel.

Nornickel CEO added almost $8 billion to his personal fortune in 2019

Oligarch Vladimir Potanin now ranks third on Forbes list of wealthiest persons in Russia. He can thank the smelters and mines at the Taimyr- and Kola Peninsula for the boost fortune.
December 26, 2019


Big money creates bigger money, at least so for Vladimir Potanin. No other of the Russian oligarchs increased their fortune more this year than him.

According to Forbes, who closely monitors the richest people in the world, added Vladimir Potanin $7,8 billion to his capital in 2019 and now ranks No. 43 among on the list with a personal fortune of $23,5 billion.

$7,8 billion is a lot of money. Maybe hard for most of us to understand. Let’s try to spell it out, Potanin’s 2019-increase:

  • More than $21 million per day.
  • Almost the GDP of Kyrgyzstan ($7.6 billion in 2017)
  • Twice as much as construction cost for the One World Trade Centre ($3.8 billion)

In Russia, Potanin is by the end of the year believed to be the third richest after Leonid Mikhelson ($27 billion) and Vagit Alekperov ($24 billion).


Norilsk, Taymyr Peninsula. Photo: Thomas Nilsen


The boost in wealth is mainly thanks to increase in value of the shares in Nornikel, which started the year at 12,500 rubles per share and is now nearly 20,000 rubles.


Nornickel is the world’s largest producer of nickel with mines, processing plants and smelters in Norilsk and Talnak on the Taimyr Peninsula, as well as in Nikel, Zapolyarny and Monchegorsk on the Kola Peninsula.

The smelter in Nikel, a few kilometres from the border to Norway, has started to shut down and will close the last furnace by the end of 2020.

Nornickel also operates the Harjavalta processing plant in Finland.

Potanin is both the CEO and owner of 31% of the company. He gained his stake in Nornickel (Norilsk Nickel) through the highly controversial privatisations in Russia in the early 1990s.


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