Russian fertilizer in the middle of debates
Stock offerings in Russian fertilizer companies have been appearing on stock markets of the world as companies are raising money to become bigger players in the world fertilizer business, and, meanwhile, India is complaining about potash prices offered to the country.
The Russian fertilizer-maker PhosAgro, which is Europe's biggest manufacturer supplier of phosphate-based fertilizers, has taken a relatively conservative approach in raising money, but its recent stock offering in London assured the company of pulling in about $500 million, according to NASDAQ.com. Additional reports are that “this sale will add to the $3.87 billion that six Russian IPOs have already raised this year, not counting another $3.88 billion from three secondary (stock) offerings.”
A rumor that is hard to swallow, which even the NASDAQ site editors don’t believe, is that PhosAgro will use all the money it has raised to launch a hostile takeover of Mosaic. The Web editors note that Mosaic is a $32 billion giant, at least five times as large as PhosAgro at its current valuation. Earlier estimates were that the value of PhosAgro was much more.
Meanwhile Russian potash companies along with Canadian and Byelorussian companies are being berated by India agricultural officials for what India thinks is discrimination in pricing. The claim is that the foreign countries form a global fertilizer cartel, controlling 80 percent of the world’s potash sales, and sells potash to China at a much lower price than quoted India, and, therefore, India cannot buy potash at the best rates for crop production. The Canadians are blamed for the conspiracy against India, according to mydigitalfc.com, an India business news service.
“The fertilizer ministry took up the issue with the external affairs ministry which in turn petitioned the prime minister’s office for intervention. The likely result is that India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, may take up the matter directly with the prime ministers of Canada and Russia,” mydigitalfc.com recently reported.
The Fertilizer Association of India has added its voice to the complaint, too. All the India officials claim the potash companies will not do business in long-term contracts and force India to buy on the spot market plus the cartel companies have not met old contract obligations either.
There also is a diammonium phosphate (DAP) shortage in India because the government refuses to pay sufficient subsidy for import at the prices to which DAP has risen in the world markets.
As for the potash complaint, the main basis of complaint is that India wants the lowest price in Asia, equal to or lower than supply contracts signed with China, which is a main rival.