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Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel makes rival bid for Canada's LionOre

Norilsk Nickel, the world's biggest producer of nickel and palladium, announced Thursday that it had launched a 5.3 billion Canadian dollar (US$4.8 billion; EURO 3.53 billion) bid for nickel and gold producer LionOre.

At 21.50 Canadian dollars (US$19.42; EURO14.29) per share, Norilsk Nickel said in a statement that the offer represents a 16.2 percent premium to a rival bid by Xstrata PLC on March 26.

The bid for LionOre is an all-cash offer for all of the Canadian company's shares, Norilsk said.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Norilsk Nickel, which will bring together two companies with a strong strategic fit and will enhance our position among the largest diversified mining companies in the world," General Director Denis Morozov said in the statement.

Norilsk has made major forays overseas in recent years, acquiring U.S. miners Stillwater Mining Co. and nickel producer OM Group Inc.

After Xstrata's bid in March, LionOre President and Chief Executive Officer Colin Steyn praised the offer as presenting "clear value to shareholders."