7 Jun 2010 19:07

Interros not looking to buy stake in Uralkali

SOCHI. June 7 (Interfax) - Interros is not making a bid for a stake in fertilizer producer OJSC Uralkali , Interros's owner Vladimir Potanin told reporters.

"No, we are not," Potanin said, when asked if his group was thinking about buying into Uralkali. "You can reassure the experts," he said.

Uralkali confirmed at the end of May that its owner Dmitry Rybolovlev intended to sell out and that talks were being held with several parties, including Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov, both of whom said at the time that they were not interested. Sources also named Suleiman Kerimov, Vladimir Lisin and Vladimir Yevtushenkov, owner of the Sistema holding, among possible buyers.

Sources said last week that Kerimov was close to buying a controlling stake Uralkali from Rybolovlev for cash and shares. "The deal will probably be based on a price of $23 per GDR, and it could take a week or ten days to close," the source said.

Shares in gold miner Polyus Gold , in which Kerimov is a major shareholder, could be used as currency for the transaction besides cash, the source said, without indicating the ratio of cash to shares. Kerimov owns 36.88% of Polyus Gold.

The deal would value Rybolovlev's 65.6% of Uralkali at $6.4 billion and the whole company at $9.8 billion. Control of the company could cost almost $5 billion. Another source said last week that talks on buying control of Uralkali were still being conducted with Vladimir Potanin, Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Lisin.

Troika Dialog said in a note following a meeting with Rybolovlev in Paris last week that Rybolovlev intended to hold onto some of his shares in Uralkali after selling a controlling stake.

Rybolovlev said at the meeting that the controlling stake might be bought by a pool of investors.

Rybolovlev intends to keep 25% of the shares in Silvinit , another Urals region potash miner, Troika said.