February 24, 2014 / 3:51 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Russian state conglomerate head may join Uralkali board - sources

* Chemezov could become chairman if elected - sources

* Uralkali shareholders to elect new board on March 24 (Adds details, context)

MOSCOW, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Sergei Chemezov, the head of Russian state conglomerate Rostec and a powerful ally of President Vladimir Putin, may join the board of world No.1 potash producer Uralkali and could become its chairman, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Chemezov, Putin’s colleague during his posting with the KGB security service in East Germany in the 1980s, has built up a state-owned empire that includes the world’s biggest titanium maker, Russia’s largest carmaker, and one of the world’s biggest arms exporters.

“He (Chemezov) has been nominated (to Uralkali’s board),” one of the sources said.

Both sources said Chemezov could become board chairman if elected. They did not say who had nominated him.

The nomination follows a change in Uralkali’s ownership in late 2013.

Russian tycoon-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov and businessman Dmitry Mazepin’s Uralchem took control of a 47-percent stake in Uralkali after the company sparked by political row by quitting a trading alliance with Belarus that controlled 40 percent of the global potash market.

Uralkali shareholders are due to elect a new board of directors at a meeting in Berezniki, in the region of Perm, on March 24. Alexander Voloshin, a former Kremlin chief of staff, is currently Uralkali board chairman.

Rostec was interested in a stake in Uralkali when Prokhorov and Mazepin were holding negotiations to buy a holding, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters at the time. Rostec would serve as a “minder” for the Kremlin if it was brought into the deal, one of the sources had said.

Chemezov joined the board of Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest nickel and palladium miner, last year after a government-backed deal to end a long-running power struggle between Norilsk’s main owners.

Rostec, Uralchem, Prokhorov’s investment vehicle Onexim and Uralkali all declined to comment. (Reporting by Polina Devitt and Gleb Stolyarov; Editing by Jason Bush and Mark Potter)

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