* Phosagro seeks backing of Russian PM Putin for
* Has set deals with Canadian banks for half of
* Decision by Canada on BHP's bid due on Wednesday -
(Adds details from newspaper report, background)
MOSCOW, Nov 3 Russian fertiliser company
Phosagro is planning to bid for Canada's Potash Corp (POT.TO),
the world's top fertilizer maker, rivalling a bid by BHP
Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L), business daily Vedomosti reported on
Phosagro Chairman Vladimir Litvinenko has asked Russian
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to approve a potential deal and
request financing from Russian banks, the newspaper said,
citing a letter from Litvinenko to Putin.
The news comes as Canada insisted on Tuesday it has made no
decision yet on BHP's $39 billion offer for Potash, even as two
newspapers said bureaucrats were advising the government to
allow the bid and rumors swirled in the markets that Ottawa
would block it. [ID:nN02206060]
The federal Canadian government will announce its decision
on Wednesday, a source close to the matter told Reuters. Ottawa
has until the end of Wednesday (0400 GMT Nov 4) to make its
Vedomosti said it was unclear how much Phosagro planned to
bid for Potash Corp.
It quoted Litvinenko as saying in the letter he knows well
Canada's government officials who make decisions on the matter
as well as Potash Corp's senior management and that they were
not against an alliance with Russia.
Phosagro has also secured preliminary agreements with
Canadian banks over providing half of financing needed for the
deal, while Russian banks should provide the rest, the paper
Phosagro was not immediately available for comment.
Potash Corp said late last month its advisers had
identified several potential buyers that could realistically
make an offer to buy Potash Corp, competing with BHP Billiton's
$39 billion bid.
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Muralikumar