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Prokhorov Said to Agree to Buy Kerimov’s Uralkali Stake

Uralkali Potash Mine
An employee stands beside a pile of potash at an underground storage facility inside the potash mine operated by OAO Uralkali in Berezniki, Russia. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Group reached an agreement with Suleiman Kerimov and his partners to buy their 33 percent stake in potash producer OAO Uralkali, three people with knowledge of situation said.

The deal values the world’s largest producer of the soil nutrient at about $20 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified before an official statement. The stake held by Kerimov and his partners has a market value of about $5.2 billion. OAO Uralchem owner Dmitry Mazepin may join Onexim as a partner in the deal, two of the people said.

A sale may defuse a dispute between Russia and Belarus sparked by Uralkali’s July withdrawal from a partnership that marketed 40 percent of global potash exports. The falling-out and Uralkali’s plan to boost production roiled the $20 billion market for the soil nutrient. Belarus has called for a change in the company’s ownership before a reconciliation is possible.

Anton Averin, a spokesman for Kerimov’s Nafta Moskva, declined to comment, as did Andrey Belyak, an Onexim spokesman, and Alan Basiev, a Uralchem spokesman.

The new owners will have a 38 percent stake in Uralkali once the company fulfills a plan to cancel about 12.4 percent of its stock held as treasury.

Uralkali climbed 7.6 percent to $27.74 in London on Nov. 15.

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