UPDATE 1-Owner of Russia's Uralchem joins race for Uralkali

Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:55am EST
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* Mazepin may team up with Prokhorov in a possible deal - sources

* Sberbank may finance the deal if it is agreed

* No agreement yet signed

By Polina Devitt and Oksana Kobzeva

MOSCOW, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Dmitry Mazepin, owner of Russian fertiliser producer Uralchem, has joined the race to take a stake in the world's largest potash miner Uralkali, three sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters on Tuesday.

Since Uralkali left a potash cartel with a Belarussian state company in July, speculation has mounted its main owner, Suleiman Kerimov, would have to sell his 21.75 percent stake so it could be resurrected to support prices and soothe ties.

With his partners, Kerimov owns a third of the business.

Mazepin, who has a fortune estimated at $3.2 billion by Forbes magazine, could team up with Russian tycoon-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov in a possible deal, the Vedomosti newspaper reported earlier on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

According to three sources who spoke to Reuters, Russia's leading lender Sberbank is expected to finance the deal if it is agreed. Vedomosti said the second-biggest bank VTB was also ready to finance the deal.   Continued...