August 10, 2011 / 3:45 AM / 8 years ago

India eyeing $6-7 bln stake in Belarus potash miner - report

MUMBAI, Aug 10 (Reuters) - India is looking to acquire a 20-25 percent stake in Belarus-based Belaruskali, one of the world’s largest producers and suppliers of potash, in a deal that could be worth $6-7 billion, the Mint reported on Wednesday.

The proposal is likely to be discussed at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, the report said citing two officials of the federal ministry for chemicals and fertilisers.

The officials said the Belarus government had valued Belaruskali, which jointly owns Belarusian Potash Co with Russia’s Uralkali , at $30 billion, the report said.

India needs to ensure long-term supplies of potash to meet increasing demand, but could face competition for acquiring the stake from rivals based in Russia and China, it said.

Manoj Kumar Bharti, India’s ambassador to Belarus, met Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich to discuss the proposal on Aug. 4, the report said adding Bharti could not be reached for a comment.

The government was contemplating a strategic stake in a potash mining firm outside India but no concrete proposal has been finalised, a top official from the federal ministry for chemicals and fertilisers told Reuters.

“If at all, a stake buy happens, it has to happen through a government-controlled company,” the official told Reuters over the telephone.

India is fully dependent on imports for potash and meets its requirement from Belarusian Potash Co, Canada’s Canpotex - jointly owned by Potash Corp , Mosaic Co and Agrium Inc , Arab Potash Co , ICL Israel Chemicals and K+S . (Reporting by Kaustubh Kulkarni; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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