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China to Boost Potash Power With Belaruskali Deal, BofA Says

China will boost its negotiating power in potash supply talks if it acquires a stake in Belarusian producer Belaruskali, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note today.

Sinofert Holdings Ltd., China’s largest fertilizer importer, has indicated that a framework agreement involving Belaruskali will likely be reached by June 2010, analysts Timothy Bush and Liying Du said in the report. Talks, also involving China BlueChemical Ltd., are at a preliminary stage, they said.

Belarus accounts for more than one-tenth of global resources of the soil nutrient. China has sought to secure potash supplies by boosting its own production and buying stakes in foreign projects. Belarus, which received a $1 billion loan from China in March, plans to borrow more and indicated it would be willing to transfer a stake in Belaruskali, the analysts said.

“We expect more clarity on the deal by October 2010, when the Belarusian president is scheduled to visit China,” the analysts said.

Sinofert and China BlueChemical have yet to formally submit proposals to the Chinese government for approval, according to Bush and Du.

Belaruskali deputy Chief Executive Officer Anatoly Makhlai declined to comment.

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