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Melnichenko May Spin Off Potash, Keep K+S Stake, Vedomosti Says

EuroChem, Russia’s largest fertilizer maker by revenue, is considering spinning off its potash business, billionaire Chairman Andrey Melnichenko told the Vedomosti daily in an interview.

EuroChem has projects to build two potash mines in Russia with combined capacity of 8 million metric tons a year, the newspaper said. EuroChem will be able to process only 1 million tons of these volumes into complex fertilizers, which is why it may spin off its potash business into a separate entity, Vedomosti cited Melnichenko as saying.

EuroChem may consider an initial public offering of shares once it builds the potash mines and spins off the business, Melnichenko told Vedomosti.

Melnichenko, 40, himself holds “slightly less than 10 percent” in German potash producer K+S AG, according to the interview. EuroChem cut its stake in K+S to about 1 percent, the German company said March 27.

Melnichenko’s fortune was valued at $10.8 billion by the Forbes magazine’s Russian edition published this month. He also controls coal producer Siberian Coal Energy Co., or Suek, and coal-fueled power generators in Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

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