Russian precious metals company Norilsk has announced that Norilsk Nickel has clinched a long-term contract with GM to supply the company with palladium, platinum and rhodium.

The company described the contract, which was signed by its fully owned London-based subsidiary Norimet Ltd., as "the embodiment of [our] strategy of entering into direct agreements with end users of precious metals."

A GM spokesman told The Moscow Times that as the world's No. 1 palladium supplier, Norilsk "will be able to support our global business."

The newspaper notes that platinum deals have been rarely publicised since production data was classified in Russia as a state secret in 1996.

This is only the second contract Norilsk Nickel has won since it was issued a license to sell platinum group metals, or PGMs, in April. The other was with Japanese car manufacturer Mitsubishi.

The PGMs are an important component used in catalytic converters.

The Moscow Times adds that analysts believe the contract to be a goodwill gesture by GM and say the contract itself is unlikely to be large.