Uralkali, a fertiliser producer with a market capitalisation of $3.8bn, is set to become the latest Russian company to seek an international listing of its shares.
The group said its shareholders had agreed to appoint Credit Suisse and UBS as the underwriters of the deal, which would see 616m of its shares, or no more than 29 per cent of the company, sold in an international offering.
The issue would be in the form of ordinary shares and global depositary receipts. Further details about the issue were not available on Thursday, but it is likely that Uralkali will seek a listing on the London Stock Exchange, which has become a top destination for companies from emerging markets.
Uralkali’s shares trade on Moscow’s RTS stock exchange, giving the company a market capitalisation of $3.8bn. That would value the stake to be sold at around $1bn. Its shares have risen 133 per cent over the last 12 months.
Uralkali accounts for 13 per cent of the world production of potassium-based fertilisers, ranking the company as the fifth in the world and the first in Russia, according to the group’s website.
Richard Segal, chief strategist at hedge fund Argonaftis Capital, said: “Like crude oil, fertilisers are natural and easy to produce and tend to be found in abundance where there is insufficient local demand, countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Jordan and Chile . . . As a result, the export potential is sizeable.”
The consumers of Uralkali’s products have been typically located in the Asian region and Latin America. In 2005, Uralkali said it had its “best manufacturing results in its post-Soviet history”, producing 5.417m tonnes of potash fertilisers.
It said its sales rose 77 per cent in 2005 to Rbs20.7bn ($775m) while its “reported profit” increased by 164 per cent to Rbs7.6bn.
Earlier this week, the LSE said 2006 had already become a record year for capital raising through IPOs, already exceeding the amount raised during all of 2000. International listings have played a “significant role” in the money raised, said an LSE spokesperson.
Severstal, the Russian steel group, has recently mandated investment banks to manage an IPO in London. Market sources add that TMK, the Russian steel pipe maker, is in discussions with banks about a possible IPO.
Additional reporting by Arkady Ostrovsky in Moscow and Rebecca Bream in London