Market Overview

Potash, Rio Tinto Eye Stakes In Russia's Uralkali

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Potash Corp. (NYSE: POT), the largest North American maker of its namesake fertilizer, and mining giant Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP) are reportedly interested in Russian potash miner Uralkali.

Russia is looking to diverse its economy beyond oil and natural gas and may seek foreign investment to bolster its agriculture industry. Market observers have speculated further moves would involve a mega merger of Uralkali with rivals Silvinit and Phosagro, according to Reuters.

Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov controls Uralkali. Talks with suitors, including Potash and Rio Tinto, are reportedly in their nascent stages.

Analysts say Kerimov has enough support in the Kremlin to pull off a deal, which would create a $20 billion Russian national champion and the second-biggest potash producer in the world, Reuters reported.

Still, some analysts believe the Kremlin would oppose the sale of Uralkali to a foreign buyer. Rio Tinto said earlier this year it was interested in potash acquisitions.

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