Russia's Norilsk Nickel returns to profit

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image captionNorilsk Nickel is controlled by tycoons Vladimir Potanin and Oleg Deripaska

Russian palladium and nickel producer Norilsk Nickel has reported a $2.65bn (£1.83bn) net profit for 2009.

The profit comes after a $555m loss a year earlier, when the firm was hit by one-off charges of $4.7bn.

The company reported a 27% drop in revenue to $10.2bn due to lower metal prices. However, it cut costs, with labour expenses down by 25%.

Norilsk Nickel is controlled by Oleg Deripaska's aluminium producer Rusal and Vladimir Potanin's Interros.

The firm said it had reduced its debt to $5.3bn by the end of 2009 from $6.4bn a year earlier, and was required to repay almost $3bn of loans and borrowings this year.

The company's cash and equivalents increased to $3.63bn.

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