UPDATE 1-Russia's Uralkali to invest $4.5 bln to stay potash No.1

Thu Mar 5, 2015 8:49am EST
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* Uralkali posts 2014 net loss of $631 mln due to write-offs

* Says 2014 EBITDA up 9 pct, beating forecast

* Says to boost capacity to 14.4 mln T by 2020

* Shares up 4 pct, outperform market (Adds details, quotes, context)

By Polina Devitt

MOSCOW, March 5 (Reuters) - Russia's Uralkali will invest $4.5 billion over the next five years to raise production capacity by 30 percent, aiming to remain the world's largest potash company despite a setback at a major mine.

Uralkali's capacity to produce potash, a crop nutrient, came into focus after it halted production at the Solikamsk-2 mine, damaged by flooding in November.

"We are the industry leader and aim to maintain and strengthen our long-term prospects in the global potash market by increasing our annual production," Dmitry Osipov, Uralkali's chief executive, said on Thursday.

The new production plan was announced alongside financial results for 2014, which were hit by non-cash write-offs caused by a more than 40-percent slump in the value of the rouble against the U.S. dollar.   Continued...