Minsk Willing to Sell Belaruskali for $15 Billion, Media

09.06.2011 11:24

The Russian company Nafta Moscow, headed by co-owner of Uralkali Suleyman Kerimov, may soon sign a contract with the Belarusian authorities to buy 50% + 1 share of Belaruskali. According to the source, the deal will amount to $15 billion, based on $30 billion overall assessment of the company.

Wednesday, June 8, there was a meeting of Nafta Moscow leadership with the Belarusian authorities. The meeting was a turning point and allowed the parties to approach the final arrangements, according to Interfax.

Russia’s Sberbank has already expressed willingness to finance the deal. «Karimov hasn’t applied so far, but we are ready to consider financing the deal, including, if needed, in a consortium with other Russian banks,» said deputy chairman of Sberbank Andrey Donskih.

Regime Got to Selling «Family Silver,» Bogdankevich

Former head of the National Bank of Belarus Stanislav Bogdankevich sharply opposed the deal. «If this is true, it comes to the sale of Belarus’s «family silver,» which is not dictated by some kind of necessity. Belaruskali is that object that people’s value, actually the only natural resource of the country, which cannot be sold in any case,» he said.

According to Stanislav Bogdankevich, $15 billion «will certainly help President Lukashenko to stay in power and temporarily stabilize the situation.» «The way out is to immediately implement economic reforms, create conditions not for the inflow of such «empty» money, but for the influx of money together with the latest technology of the civilized world,» the economist said.

Belaruskali Price is Overstated, Expert

Meanwhile, as noted by an analyst of Raiffeisenbank, Konstantin Yuminov, a fair price of Belaruskali is 1.5-2 times lower than the claimed $30 billion. «But such a large premium is quite understandable. Controlling stock is about to be sold, which always leads to the transaction price increase,» he said.

In addition, investors from China take interest in Belaruskali, and China is known to be the world’s largest consumer of potassium chloride — the basic component for most of potash. «If the consumer (in this case — China) gets a share in production, it can affect the volumes of supply and prices. Therefore, the interest on the part of China leads to further increase in the asset value,» said the expert.

«If the deal goes through, the price will be exactly the one, announced by the Belarusian authorities. In this situation, Lukashenko could well decide on the controlling stock sale. We are now witnessing not merely an economic crisis in Belarus but a crisis of the economic model. They need huge investments,» said the deputy director general of the Russian Center for Political Technologies, Aleksei Makarkin.