India proposes $5 bn fund for overseas fertilizer mineral assets

11 May 2012 06:21  [Source: ICIS news]

KOLKATA (ICIS)--India's government is planning to create a $5 bn (€3.85bn) sovereign fund for acquisition of overseas fertilizer mineral assets like rock phosphate and potash to secure future needs, a Ministry of Chemicals and Fertiliser official said late on Thursday.

“A Working Group of the Planning Commission has mooted the creation of the sovereign fund for long-term fertilizer security and reduce India’s dependency on imports. The process of seeking fund allocation has been initiated by the ministry,” the official told ICIS.

“Globally, 30-potash related projects were scheduled for completion by 2015 that could lead to a surplus of 15m tonne of potash and hence it was a good time to acquire fertilizer mineral assets overseas at favourable valuations,” he said quoting data released by International Fertilizer Association (IFA).

Government-owned fertilizer producers; Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited (RCFL) and Indian Farmers’ Fertilizer Co-operative Limited (IFFCO), two of the country’s largest farm nutrient producers, will be among those given access to the fund.

The latter has identified Canada and Belarus among target countries where strategic investments will be explored to ensure long-term fertilizer raw material supplies.

The Planning Commission's working Group has suggested that the government owned fertilizer companies seek presence in Belarus, which has proven potash deposits of one billion tonnes through strategic investment in state-owned potash miner, Belarus Kali.

The governments of India and Belarus have had bilateral talks on strategic investments in Belarus Kali.

However, this was not confirmed by the ministry’s official.

India’s demand for fertilizer will rise 4% to 61.27m tonne during 2012-13 with urea consumption forecast at 32 m tonne, di-ammonium phosphate 13.24 m tonne,  potash 4.69 m tonne and complex nutrients at 11.25m tonne.

India is fully dependent on imports to meet domestic demand for phosphatic and potassic fertilizers.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Ajoy K Das
+65 6780 4359

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