9 Sep 2010 13:37

Uralkali denies share sale talks

MOSCOW. Sept 9 (Interfax) - Uralkali has denied reports concerning talks to sell a stake in the company.

"The company knows nothing about talks on a possible sale of any share stake or its potential price," a company spokesman told Interfax.

"Reports concerning potential Uralkali sales are baseless rumors and the company asks that the media refrain from publishing such information," he said.

Several media outlets have reported that mining concern Rio Tinto is interested in acquiring a stake in Uralkali. The business daily Vedomosti reported that Rio is seeking a stake of 10%-15%. The newspaper reported that Rio's valuation of Uralkali might be 50% higher than the enterprise value used in June 2010, when a controlling stake in the company was acquired by Suleiman Kerimov, Filaret Galchev and Alexander Nesis.

It was also reported that a delegation from Rio Tinto made a familiarization visit to the Berezniki-based company last week, and that Kerimov led his own delegation to Uralkali on Monday to meet with the Rio delegation. Later, Kerimov's assistant, Alexei Krasovsky, denied that Kerimov had visited Berezniki.