Russian miner Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.MM: Quote) plans to sell 4 percent of its own shares, acquired during a buyback, to its two main production units, two sources close to the company's shareholders told Reuters on Thursday.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Norilsk's board would vote later on Thursday on dividing the shares between Norilsk Mining and Metals Works and Kola Mining and Metals Company. They did not give more detail. Norilsk Nickel declined to comment.

Norilsk acquired the stake via a controversial share buyback programme launched last year, under which it paid 6,167 roubles per share, well in excess of their market price at the time. [ID:nLT472629]

The company's board had previously voted to re-sell them at a discount to the market price.

Norilsk's main shareholders include United Company RUSAL, controlled by tycoon Oleg Deripaska and Interros, an investment vehicle of billionaire Vladimir Potanin.

The board is also planning to examine issues related to the forthcoming annual general meeting, including waiving a dividend for 2008.

Norilsk announced plans in November to axe its 2008 dividend in response to the world financial crisis. [ID:nLK231885] (Reporting by Aleksandras Budrys; Editing by Dan Lalor) ($1 = 31.80 roubles)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved