Uralkali: potash prices to rebound in 2014, sales up
Petrov, who according to colleagues practically used to live on planes, now cannot travel abroad as Belarus has also accused him of professional misconduct and asked Interpol to put him on its wanted list.
"I realize I actually don't need to travel as much as I did before," he said when asked whether the situation had a negative impact on the company's business.
"It doesn't affect my work. We have concluded our contracts with China and India and the spot markets can be dealt with perfectly well without travel by our colleagues in the regional network. (But) it will be necessary to travel again more actively in 2014."
Monthly Sales Rise
Working alone, Uralkali increased monthly sales to 1 million tonnes in August and September respectively, mainly thanks to the Brazilian and Asian markets. Monthly exports currently stand at around 850,000 tonnes. The company plans to sell similar volumes per month until the end of 2013.
Since the split with Belaruskali, Uralkali's supplies to China have increased modestly to around 250,000 tonnes by rail and sea per month, including about 160,000 tonnes by rail through spot contracts, he said.
Uralkali did not disclose figures on pre-split sales to China.
The company is also supplying between 100,000 tonnes and 150,000 tonnes per month to India, where the price has been adjusted to $375 per tonne from $427 since the break-up of the joint venture.
In Brazil, the price for Uralkali's supplies has fallen to $350-360 per tonne, down $30-40, Petrov said. The company currently supplies 150,000-200,000 tonnes to Brazil per month.
Until the joint venture broke up on July 30, Uralkali used a formula for calculating Russian domestic prices based on its exports. This formula led some analysts to think it had decreased prices for China since July, which the company denies.
"After the split, Belarus offered its own product to some big NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) producers in Russia at the price of 4,600 roubles ($140) per tonne. Uralkali had no choice but to protect its market," Petrov said.
"In the end, Uralkali lowered its price to 5,100 roubles ($160), but this was a one-off and that figure has no connection with the company's export price to China," he added.