Thursday, June 23, 2016

Russia, Belarus Consider Rebuilding Fertilizer Monopoly

From Reuters via CNBC:

UPDATE 2-Belarus may revive potash cooperation with Uralkali
The Republic of Belarus said it might cooperate with Uralkali, the first sign the two sides might work together since the Russian potash producer broke off an alliance in 2013 and triggered a drop in global prices.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's comments on Thursday sent shares of rival potash companies higher as previous co-operation between the world's two biggest miners of the crop nutrient helped manage supplies and underpin prices.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan and Mosaic Co gained 6 percent in New York, while Germany's K&S AG added 5 percent in Frankfurt.

Uralkali is the world's biggest potash producer, while state-controlled Belaruskali ranks second.
"New Uralkali shareholders are coming to me every month saying: 'Accept us,"' Lukashenko said at an event in Minsk, Belarus' capital. "We are not against it. Let's unite, on our conditions.
"Let's resume work and agree how much we will produce."

Lukashenko did not disclose his conditions. The previous joint venture was based in Minsk, which was then a crucial condition for Belarus and the main concern for Uralkali.

Uralkali declined to comment. Its major shareholder, Uralchem, was not available for comment.
The collapse of Uralkali's joint venture with Belaruskali caused competition to intensify and drive down prices, which have not fully recovered.

Talk of cooperation among major players comes after Germany's K&S AG said this week it would carefully manage output of its new Canadian mine, Scotiabank analyst Ben Isaacson said.
"We think there could not be a better signal for investors to revive optimism," he said....MORE