Famous Belarusian brand is a free agent
New potassium fertiliser export company set up in Belarus to ensure stability
By Artem Svetlov
In line with a Presidential decree, foreign sales of Belarusian potassium are to be supervised by a new structure: the Belarusian Potassium Company JSC. It differs from the previous trader in its form of ownership since, in the past, Soligorsk-mined fertilisers were sold by a closed joint stock company. It will have exclusive rights to export and, importantly, will have no need to start the business anew. It will employ Belarusian specialists, while the well-known BKK brand should allow the use of established contacts, while mastering new sales markets.
“The decision is primarily based on Uralkali’s destructive position — as regards the operation of the Belarusian Potassium Company (BKK) as a closed joint stock company,” explains Belaruskali’s General Director, Valery Kirienko. “During the registration of our new company, BKK CJSC will continue working and fulfilling its existing obligations, allowing Belarus to preserve its famous brand on the global market. This will also save time and allow us to build on our accumulated experience.”
Experts consider the establishment of a new trader to co-ordinate potash fertiliser exports as a logical and reasonable move. Selling fertilisers is profitable for the state budget so a company is needed to represent Belaruskali’s interests abroad. “Belarus accounts for 22 percent of the global potassium market — enough to become a substantial and influential market player,” notes Georgy Grits, the Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Scientific-Industrial Association. “However, this does not mean that we need ‘to gather all our toys and move to another playpit’. The potassium market is consolidated, with only a few players, so it’s necessary to agree positions.” Mr. Grits tells us that Belarus is eager to operate a long term strategy, launching a new facility for compound fertiliser production, while achieving an agreement with Qatar on joint potassium mining and processing.
To help sell our raw materials on foreign markets and ensure Belaruskali’s stability, a Presidential decree envisages zero export customs duties on potassium fertilisers until the end of 2013. “The customs duty was introduced to withdraw super-profits from the company but the state has now decided to cut the tax burden, ensuring the company’s stable functioning under new conditions,” stresses Mr. Kirienko.