* Uralkali shareholder says Belaruskali merger
* Tie-up would have created biggest potash producer
* No plans to increase stake in Greece's Piraeus - Nesis
(Adds details, background)
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
LONDON, June 23 A takeover by Uralkali
of Belarussian potash mining partner Belaruskali is too complex
and unlikely to happen, Uralkali shareholder Alexander Nesis
said, dampening hopes of a deal to create a sector giant.
"It is so complicated I don't believe it can happen," Nesis
told Reuters. Nesis held 17.5 percent in Uralkali before a
merger this month with rival Silvinit and holds around 12
percent in the newly combined group, now Russia's largest potash
miner, he said.
Russia's Uralkali, controlled by Nesis business associate
Suleiman Kerimov, is considered to be the most likely buyer of
Belaruskali if Belarus is forced to sell its most prized asset
to ease its currency and economic crisis.
Earlier this month, Belarus agreed to sell off $7.5 billion
in state assets within the next three years as part of a deal to
obtain $3 billion from a Russian-led bailout fund. The agreement
did not require the privatisation of any specific firms.
A tie-up between Belaruskali and Uralkali would create the
world's biggest producer of potash -- an ingredient of
fertiliser used in farming -- well ahead of Canada's Potash Corp
Both companies are partners in export vehicle Belarussian
Potash Corp, so the move would primarily add scale and influence
to the Russian business as opposed to venturing into territory
owned by competitors such as Potash Corp.
A major shareholder said earlier this week that the two
sides were not in talks.
Nesis also said his ICT investment group had no plans to
increase its just under 5 percent stake in Greece's Piraeus Bank
(BOPr.AT), a company whose shares have been hit hard by that
country's financial crisis.
"Not for now," he said of the stake, made public earlier
Nesis said he was interested in the bank's technology and
had spotted potential despite Greek sovereign risk, but was
happy with his current holding.
ICT is also an investor in Russian miner Polymetal
and newly floated Nomos Bank NMOSq.L.
It also owns a railcar business that Nesis said he expected
to list in 2014, cashing in on increasing volumes of rail
freight. The rail factory will produce 13,000 freight cars a
year, he said.
(Writing by John Bowker, Editing by Maria Kiselyova and David