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China grabs a 12.5% stake in potash leader Uralkali

by Cecilia Jamasmie | September 24, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

China grabs a 12.5% stake in potash leader Uralkali

Uralkali processing plant. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

China’s sovereign wealth fund (CIC) acquired Tuesday a 12.5% stake in beleaguered Russian potash miner Uralkali, the world’s No. 1 producer of the fertilizer, adding the investment to a growing list of recent commodity-related acquisitions.

The move is a major one for China, the world’s top potash consumer, as the country is securing in this way a steady supply in a market shaken by the fresh breakup of the Russia-Belarus cartel, which controlled more than 40% of world exports.

CIC is no stranger to Russia. Last year it secured a 5% interest in Polyus Gold and in February helped with the flotation of the Moscow stock exchange. But today’s deal has special significance, as it comes amid rumours of mogul Suleiman Kerimov wanting to sell his 20% stake in Uralkali over the dispute between Russia and Belarus.

Uralkali’s CEO Vladislav Baumgertner has been jailed in Belarus since August 26, when he was arrested on charges of abuse of power, following the firm’s departure from the potash cartel.

The CIC is now the second-largest shareholder in the world’s biggest potash producer.

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