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Belarus to sell Belaruskali for $30bn

MINSK, 7 October (BelTA) – Belarus confirms the intention to sell Belaruskali for at least $30 billion, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko told the press conference held on 7 October for Russian mass media.

“If it doesn’t sell for $30 billion, it is okay. The company is profitable, operates smoothly, there is no need to rush to sell it,” said Alexander Lukashenko. He underlined that “we will never surrender control over the enterprise”.

OAO Belaruskali is a powerful and effective enterprise. It earns about $3 billion in hard cash for the country. “We are not against privatization. Nobody sticks to these gold warehouses. It is not going anywhere. They will pay taxes,” remarked the President. But everything will depend on the policy of the Belarusian leadership.

“Russia wants to buy, to lay hands on the enterprise,” said the Belarusian head of state. Prices for fertilizers rise year after year, hence, Belaruskali assets look very attractive indeed. By the way, the price for Belaruskali has been confirmed by Russian banks. The President remarked that nobody in Belarus will dare put money into their own pockets, particularly the president.

Alexander Lukashenko said that Belaruskali is sought by China, India, two Western companies, Qatar and Russia. Belarus will put the enterprise up for an auction. Russians can win the auction, the President believes.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed “It is not true that we suppress Russian capital. We welcome it”. The President invited Russian companies to buy Belarusian oil-processing enterprises. “Why don’t we reincorporate the oil refineries as joint-stock companies? The oil is piped from Russia. These refineries are tuned to process the Urals variety of Russian oil,” he stated. The President remarked that Belarus had already mastered the use of Azeri and Venezuelan oil when Russia stopped oil deliveries. “We had to seek our luck far from Russia but thanks god it is now a thing of the past. Today we get Russian oil and process it. Why don’t we set up joint-stock companies together with the source of this oil, with Russia?” remarked the Belarusian head of state.

He also stressed that Belarus adheres to process diversification. “We cannot stick to one country only,” said the President. “It is an iron principle followed across the globe. One shouldn’t put all the eggs into one basket. One has to diversify”.

Meanwhile, Russia is the key partner of Belarus. Russia accounts for the largest number of joint ventures. Belarus does not shun Russia, stressed the President. At present there are 2,178 joint ventures involving Russian capital in Belarus and 5,800 joint ventures involving capital from other countries. Russia’s share in the total number of joint ventures is 40%.