India pushes for ferts JV with Russia after China's Uralkali deal

27 September 2013 09:03  [Source: ICIS news]

KOLKATA (ICIS)--India is  pushing for joint ventures with Russian fertilizer companies in wake of China Investment Corp’s (CIC) decision to invest in global potash major Uralkali, an Indian government official on Friday.

Discussions were held between the trade ministers of the two countries on possible tie-ups with Russian potassic and phosphatic resource companies last week, the official from India’s Department of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

Indian Farmers’ Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) is taking the lead in the discussions with two Russian firms Akron and Orgsintez, the official said.

At the bilateral negotiations, India indicated a wish to have mining joint ventures for rock phosphate and potash in Russia that would feed a common sulphuric acid plant, from which all Indian fertilizer producers would draw their feedstock requirements.

This consortium set-up for the sulphuric acid plant that will be built in India will be ensure security of supply and provide a hedge for the country’s fertilizer producers against feedstock price fluctuations in the international markets, the official said.

India’s Fertilizer and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT), with plants located in southern Indian port town of Kochi has offered to host the common sulphuric acid plant, the official said.

India imports about 5m tonnes/year of rock phosphate and 1.2m tonnes/year of sulphur to meet the raw material requirements for its domestic fertilizer production, official data showed.

Its imports of phosphoric acid were estimated at 2m tonnes/year, meeting about 65% of domestic demand, while imports of sulphuric acid were estimated at 1.8m tonnes/year.

India felt compelled to push for the joint ventures in Russia, after China - through sovereign fund CIC - gained a toehold in the Russian fertilizer mineral sector by acquiring a 12.5% stake in Urakali, which is one of the largest Russian potash producers and accounts for around 20% of global potash production, the government official said.

India, on the other hand, has yet to make a headway on its proposal to invest 20% in Belarusian resource firm Belaruskali over the last three years, the government official said.

Author: Ajoy K Das

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