India is interested in buying a stake in “Belaruskali”
The Indian government has expressed its intention to invest in “Belaruskali” and waits for response from Belarus. The Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of India to Belarus Manoj Bharti said at a press conference, “Proposal of the Indian government has already been submitted and we are waiting for the Belarusian reaction”.
The Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of India to Belarus Manoj Bharti said at a press conference, “Proposal of the Indian government has already been submitted and we are waiting for the Belarusian reaction”.
India is the largest buyer of Belarusian fertilizers. Accordingly, the sale of shares to the buyer is not in the interests of the seller. For the Belarusian authorities it is important to show that bargaining for the enterprise continues. However prospects of selling it to non-Russian investors are vague, bearing in mind that “Sberbank” of Russia has taken as collateral for the $ 2 billion loan of 30% of the shares thereby having indirect control over the privatization of the enterprise. The annual foreign currency earnings of “Belaruskali” are about USD 2 billion, moreover it needs to attract new loans therefore neither “Belaruskali” nor the National Bank will not be able to return the loan to the Russian “Sberbank”. Respectively, the privatization of “Belaruskali” (albeit delayed) will be solely for the benefit of Russia. Russia estimated assets of “Belaruskali” at USD 10-15 billion, while Lukashenko at USD 30 billion. Sooner or later (2012-2013), both parties will reach a compromise.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.