UPDATE 2-Prokhorov's Onexim eyes stake in Russia's Uralkali-report

Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:27am EDT
 
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* Uralkali at centre of dispute between Russia and Belarus

* Kerimov, partners want a premium for Uralkali-sources

* Search for buyer acceptable to the Kremlin continues-sources

* Potential buyers want guarantee of good relations with Belarus-sources

By Polina Devitt and Douglas Busvine

MOSCOW, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov's investment group Onexim has joined a list potential bidders for a stake in potash producer Uralkali, as the search continues for a peacemaker to end a row that has soured relations with Belarus.

Tycoon-turned-politician Prokhorov was linked by Bloomberg on Wednesday to the stake owned by his former partner Suleiman Kerimov, who has come under pressure after Uralkali in July quit a sales cartel with state-owned Belaruskali that had controlled two-fifths of the world market.

The dissolution of the pact threatens to push prices down 25 percent, a massive blow to the fragile economy of Belarus which relies on exports of potash, a major fertiliser ingredient, for 12 percent of state revenue.

Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner has been in a KGB prison in Minsk for nearly a month, and faces up to 10 years in jail on charges of abuse of office, raising pressure for a change of ownership that could bring about a reconciliation.   Continued...