December 3, 2018 / 8:43 AM / 9 days ago

Russia's Uralkali to redirect potash sales from Asia: Interfax

An employee holds processed potassium salts at a Uralkali potash mine near the city of Berezniki in the Perm region close to Russia's Ural mountains August 23, 2013. The global potash market faces short-term turbulence due to a dispute between major exporters Russia and Belarus before a definitive collapse of the sector's once-mighty cartel brings prices for the fertiliser ingredient down sharply. Belarus this week detained the chief executive of Russia's Uralkali, the world's top potash producer, accusing him of inflicting severe economic damage. Picture taken August 23, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin (RUSSIA - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS AGRICULTURE)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian potash producer Uralkali will redirect its sales to Africa and other markets from China and India where it says the price for its product is too low, Interfax quoted its co-owner Dmitry Mazepin as saying on Monday.

Uralkali, one of the world’s largest producers of potash, a crop nutrient, usually signs large supply contracts with China and India, the world’s largest potash consumers, each year.

However, this year Uralkali has only agreed a contract to sell “minor volumes” of potash to China for $290 per tonne and does not plan to sign its usual larger contract at such a price because it is too low, Mazepin was quoted as saying by Interfax during his trip to Nairobi.

The price of its small contract with China matches the one at which Uralkali’s competitor, Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), signed its large annual contract with China this year.

Uralkali said previously that a price below $300 per tonne was unreasonable for Asian markets including China and India, given robust global trends in potash prices.

Uralkali may also refrain from signing a supply deal with India this year, Mazepin was quoted as saying. A price of more than $310 per tonne would be appropriate for Uralkali in India and China, he added.

He did not say what markets along with Africa would be in Uralkali’s focus now and what price it was hoping to get for its product there.

Mazepin also said Uralkali and another fertiliser producer - Uralchem - could consider listing their shares, including in Asia, after mid-2019 in case they need to reduce their debt.

No decisions have been taken on the possible listings or their structure as shareholders of both companies are yet to consult with bankers and advisers on this, he added.

Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Polina Devitt; writing by Maria Tsvetkova and Polina Devitt; editing by Kirsten Donovan and Ed Osmond

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