Russia's RUSAL wins Siberian court ruling against Norilsk

MOSCOW, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Russian aluminium group RUSAL

has won a legal claim against Norilsk Nickel, the world's top nickel and palladium producer, whichit partly owns, signalling that long-running tensions with itsother owner may escalate.

The dispute relates to the 2011 buyback of 7.7 percent ofNorilsk's shares by Norilsk Nickel Investments Ltd, aCyprus-based company. RUSAL claims the money spent on buyingback those shares could have been better deployed to help thecompany's development.

A court in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia ruled in favourof RUSAL's claim and declared a decision to carry out thebuyback, approved last year by Norilsk's board, invalid, RUSALsaid in a statement.

Norilsk said in separate statement that it planned to appealagainst the verdict, which it said would not have "anysubstantial effect on the company's liabilities or any financialindicators".

The court supported RUSAL's claims that the decision ofNorilsk's board violated Russian law on foreign investments inRussian companies, which are of strategic importance to thecountry.

In 2011, Norilsk spent about $9 billion on several buybacks.The total market value of the shares which Norilsk bought backin 2011 stands at $5 billion, the aluminium company added.

RUSAL owns 25 percent of Norilsk and is locked into conflictwith Vladimir Potanin, Norilsk's largest shareholder, overgovernance, board control and returns to shareholders.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

((Polina.Devitt@thomsonreuters.com)(+7 495 775 12 42)(ReutersMessaging: polina.devitt.reuters.com@reuters.net))