Uralkali settles its part of antitrust lawsuit

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A leading Russian potash manufacturer settled its part of a U.S. antitrust lawsuit charging several potash producers of price fixing since 2003. Uralkali has agreed to pay direct and indirect plaintiffs $10 million and $2.75 million respectively.

The class-action lawsuit, which originally began in 2008, was dismissed last September, but the U.S. Court of Appeals revived the case in June. The lawsuit accuses seven companies of fixing the price of potash.

The other defendants include Agrium, Potash Corp, Mosaic, Silvinit, which is now merged with Uralkali), Belarusian Potash and International Potash. These manufacturers produce 70 percent of the potash used throughout the world. The groups have been accused of operating as a cartel.

Uralkali’s decision to settle is expected to put pressure on the other remaining defendants to settle.

U.S. producers balked at the steep increase in potash prices between 2004 and 2008 when the recession hit the economy. Potash was priced at $100 per tonne in 2004 and rose to nearly $900 per tonne in 2008. After the market burst, prices fell to $350 per tonne. Today, the current price is ranging between $460 and $470 per tonne.


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