OAO Uralchem investors led by billionaire owner Dmitry Mazepin agreed to buy 20 percent of OAO Uralkali, giving him joint control of the world’s largest potash producer with Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Group.
The Uralchem shareholders agreed to buy Moscow-traded shares and global depositary receipts in a deal that includes the Uralkali holdings of billionaires Anatoly Skurov and Filaret Galchev, Moscow-based Uralchem said in a statement today. The stake is valued at about $2.9 billion based on market prices. The size of the stake was first reported Nov. 26.
The holding is a strategic investment and the transaction is expected to be completed shortly, said Uralchem. Mazepin owns 95.2 percent of the fertilizer maker, with the rest held by management, according to its 2012 annual report. Onexim said last month it agreed to buy a 21.75 percent Uralkali stake from billionaire Suleiman Kerimov’s charity foundation.
In July, Uralkali roiled the $20 billion market for the soil nutrient and sparked a dispute with Belarus by quitting a trading joint venture that controlled more than 40 percent of global potash exports. Uralkali Chief Executive Officer Vladislav Baumgertner was arrested in Minsk on Aug. 26 and charged with abuse of office as the chairman of the marketing company, while Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko called for a change of ownership at Uralkali.
Onexim and Mazepin are set to have a majority in Uralkali as they will be able to vote a 12 percent stake that is held by a unit of the Berezniki, Russia-based mining company. After Kerimov and his partners close deals with Onexim and Uralchem’s owners, it will control a minority stake of about 5 percent that is now held by associates, people familiar with the plans said last week.
Belarus-born Mazepin will buy 4.8 percent of Uralkali from Skurov and 7 percent from Galchev, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News last month. Mazepin will acquire an additional 8 percent that is now held by other partners of Kerimov, each of whom hold less than 5 percent, meaning they don’t have to disclose their holdings, people said.
OAO Acron said today it sold Uralkali shares in the open market to reduce its stake to 1.8 percent from 2.9 percent, with proceeds of 5.5 billion rubles ($170 million). Uralchem’s spokesman Alan Basiev declined to say today whether those shares are a part of the stake that Uralchem’s owners are buying.
Baumgertner was extradited to Russia Nov. 22 and is now in a Moscow jail as his lawyer seeks his release.
Uralkali shares were little changed at 4:03 p.m. in Moscow at 165.87 rubles.
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