Russian news agencies report Uralkali, Russia's largest potash miner, is not planning to buy Belaruskali, a major Uralkali shareholder said on Friday. Last week it was speculated that the cash-strapped ex-Soviet republic Belarus is negotiating the sale of its most prized asset under the terms of a bail-out loan agreed with Russia.
Responsible for one-third of the worlds potash fertiliser production, Belaruskali could have been worth as much as $20bn and a merger with Uralkali owned by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov would have created a group with annual production of 21m tonnes, dwarfing current number one Canada’s Potash Corp's 12m tonnes.
Uralkalii OAO has chosen London for a stock market float as the ink dries on its GBP15 billion tie-up with Silvinit, the UK's Daily Mail reported on Thursday.
Belaruskali, with headquarters in the city of Soligorsk south of the capital Minsk, operates four mines and refinery complexes and employs about 20,000 people. Commercial mining operations commenced in 1961.
In St. Petersburg on Friday, First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said there were no concrete plans to sell the asset. "We have never discussed this deal with Uralkali…Belaruskali is not for sale," Semashko said according to Russian news agencies.