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Uralkali Gains Most on Micex on Kerimov Bid Report

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Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- OAO Uralkali, the world’s largest potash producer, rose the most on Russia’s Micex Index on speculation billionaire investor Suleiman Kerimov may sell his 22 percent holding.

Uralkali closed up 9.2 percent at 177.01 rubles in Moscow, the biggest gain since October 2011, after Forbes’s Russian edition said billionaires Mikhail Gutseriev and Vladimir Evtushenkov are studying a possible purchase of the stake. Banker Vladimir Kogan is also looking at a bid, it said, citing people it didn’t name.

An exit by Kerimov could bring about a change in strategy at Uralkali, which has lost value since announcing in July its departure from a potash marketing venture with Belarus that controlled more than 40 percent of global exports. Belarus has since detained Chief Executive Officer Vladislav Baumgertner and is seeking to arrest Kerimov and four other employees.

“Kerimov is seen as one of the masterminds of Uralkali’s strategy,” Kevin Whyte, an analyst at VTB Capital in Moscow, said by telephone. “A return to cooperation would only be possible if there’s a radical change in shareholder structure.”

Anton Averin, a spokesman for Kerimov’s Nafta Moskva holding company, denied that the investor had sold out of Uralkali and declined to say whether he has received any offers. Ekaterina Tsukanova, a spokeswoman for Evtushenkov’s Sistema, declined to comment on the report. Gutseriev wasn’t available.

Russneft Ties

Gutseriev is the founder and owner of OAO Russneft, a Russian oil producer that ships crude to Belarus. Evtushenkov was formerly a partner in the oil company.

“Gutseriev has good relations with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko and he may be a good negotiator to cool down the conflict,” said Yulia Bushueva, managing director of Arbat Capital in Moscow.

Trading volumes in Moscow were 2.5 times above the three-month daily average. The company also advanced 10 percent in London to $26.78, the strongest gain since October 2011. Yields on its dollar bonds due in April 2018 fell seven basis points to 5.3 percent.

Israel Chemicals Ltd. surged 6.5 percent to 26.40 shekels in Tel Aviv, the most since October 2011. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the largest North American producer of the commodity, rose as much as 5.9 percent in New York, while Plymouth, Minnesota-based Mosaic Co. climbed as much as 6.1 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ksenia Galouchko in Moscow at kgalouchko1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at wmoskwa@bloomberg.net