Belarus Leader Says Potash Venture With Uralkali Not on Table

Belarus has no interest now in a new trading venture with Russian potash miner PAO Uralkali, according to Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“They are signaling that they want it,” Lukashenko said in an interview in the capital, Minsk. “We have nothing to talk about with them.”

Uralkali plunged the $20 billion market for the soil nutrient into turmoil at the end of July 2013 by ending a marketing venture with Belaruskali that accounted for 40 percent of worldwide potash exports. The Russian fertilizer producer accused Belarus of selling cargoes outside of their trade agreement and said it would increase output to capture market share, sending shares of competitors around the world tumbling.

Ownership of the Russian company must change hands before Belarus would consider a return to their joint trader, Lukashenko said at the time.

Billionaire Suleiman Kerimov and his partners sold their more than 40 percent stake of Uralkali to new investors at the end of 2013. Minsk-born Dmitry Mazepin’s OAO Uralchem and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Group bought the shares.

In this week’s interview, Lukashenko said the trading venture could be restored only on Belarus’s terms and not, as Russia suggested, in a venture registered in Switzerland.

Uralkali’s press service declined to comment.

Belarus clinched a benchmark Chinese import contract last month, the first time it beat competitors, including Uralkali.

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