Uralchem wants to buy Viterra, Cargill grain assets if they ever leave Russia -Kommersant
Russian fertiliser producer Uralchem would be interested in buying the Russian assets of global grain traders Viterra and Cargill if they decide to leave Russia, Kommersant newspaper reported on Thursday, citing a letter sent by Uralchem’s CEO to President Vladimir Putin last month.
A spokesperson for Cargill’s Russian operations said that the company does not plan to leave Russia and a spokesperson for Viterra, which is part-owned by Switzerland-based mining and trading giant Glencore, said Viterra has no plans to leave Russia.
Dozens of foreign firms, including McDonald’s MCD.N, have left Russia since Moscow sent thousands of troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24. However, food supplies are not targeted by Western sanctions, and Viterra and Cargill continue operating in Russia.
Any deals by Russian companies with foreign companies require approval by the state commission.
According to Kommersant, Uralchem Chief Executive Dmitry Konyaev wrote to Putin on Nov. 21, asking the president to support the company’s proposal, saying that Viterra and Cargill’s grain trade overlaps with Uralchem’s business.
On Nov. 22, according to Kommersant, Putin signed “agree” on the letter and instructed Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to consider the proposal.
Uralchem declined to comment on the Kommersant story.
It is not the first attempt to draw Putin’s attention to global commodities traders in Russia. In September, sanctions-hit Russian VTB Bank VTBR.MM in a letter to Putin called for the activities of Western grain traders in Russia to be curbed.
However, agriculture minister Dmitry Patrushev said in early December that Russia does not intend to “kick out” foreign grain traders.
Cargill owns a stake in the grain terminal in the Black sea port of Novorossiisk. Viterra and VTB share ownership of a grain terminal in the Black Sea port of Taman.
Uralchem is building an ammonia export terminal in Taman, which it plans to launch late next year.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Susan Fenton)