MOSCOW, February 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s biggest phosphate-based fertilizer manufacturer PhosAgro has announced a deal to buy potash from Belarus's state potash producer Belaruskali.
“Following last year’s breakup of the Belaruskali-Uralkali consortium, Russian NPK fertilizer manufacturers and agricultural producers, who account for approximately 2.1 million tons of demand per year, now have the option of buying potash from alternative suppliers based on which party can offer the best conditions,” PhosAgro CEO Andrei Guryev said in a statement.
The Russian company, which uses an estimated annual 750,000-760,000 tons of potash, told Prime business news agency that the details of the deal would be disclosed later.
Potash prices plunged last summer after Russian potash producer Uralkali announced it had pulled out of a cartel arrangement with Belaruskali.
Belarus said earlier this month that it would seek compensation from Uralkali’s former CEO Vladislav Baumgertner for financial damages, which authorities earlier estimated at $100 million.
Baumgertner was detained in Belarus last August and charged with abuse of power, before being handed over to Russia in November.
Baumgertner and Uralkali deny any wrongdoing. The company announced in late December that it was replacing him as CEO, though he remains on the board.
That decision came days after billionaires Mikhail Prokhorov and Dmitry Mazepin completed their purchase of almost half the potash giant's shares.
The buy-out of the stakes owned by another billionaire, Suleiman Kerimov, and his partners was seen as potentially easing the tensions between the Russian and Belarusian companies.