MOSCOW, September 8 (Itar-Tass) - Nafta Moscow, the investment vehicle of Russian tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, has denied the information on the billionaire’s sale of his stake in Uralkali, one of the world’s biggest potash fertilizer producers.
“This information does not correspond to reality,” Nafta Moscow Managing Director Anton Averin told Itar-Tass in his comments on the statement by lawyer Alexander Dobrovinsky.
Dobrovinsky wrote in his Facebook blog that “a reliable source told me this evening that on Friday, September 6, Suleiman Kerimov sold a big package of shares (if not all his stake) in Uralkali to some banker K. (Kogan?) from St. Petersburg. Both sides were fully satisfied with the deal.”
Dobrovinsky noted that it was hard to believe this information, but he referred to a reliable information resource that had never let him down.
On August 20 it became known that Kerimov, who was a senator from Russia’s North Caucasian republic of Dagestan, had handed over his 17.2 percent stake in Uralkali to his Suleiman Kerimov Foundation. The charity foundation bought out another 4.55 percent of shares in the company. According to Uralkali’s reports, Suleiman Kerimov Foundation is the company’s biggest shareholder owning a 21.75 percent stake. Among other big shareholders are businessman Filaret Galchev with a 7 percent stake and Anatoly Skurov with a 4.8 percent stake. Another 12.5 percent of shares belong to Wadge Holdings Limited.
Another 53.95 percent of Uralkali’s shares are in free circulation. They are traded on the Moscow Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
A conflict between Uralkali and the Belarusian authorities that own a stake in the former partner of Russia’s potash producer Belaruskali has been deepening. The Russian producer broke relations with the latter on July 30. A month after Uralkali director-general Vladislav Baumgertner was arrested in Minsk after his meeting with the Belarusian prime minister. On September 2 the Belarusian Investigative Committee put Uralkali’s shareholder Suleiman Kerimov on the wanted list.
Belarus accused the Russians of abusing power to damage the Belarusian Potash Company, a former joint venture of Uralkali and Belaruskali.
According to expert estimates, Uralkali’s stopping of sales may cut prices for potash fertilizers by 20-25 percent, which in turn will reduce potash export revenues of the Belarusian budget.