The Belarusian authorities have estimated the value of potash giant Belaruskali at $30 billion, Heorhiy Kuznyatsow, head of the State Property Committee, told reporters in Minsk on Wednesday.
He said that the appraisal of the state-owned Salihorsk-based company had been carried out by the government-controlled Institute for Real Estate and Appraisal Studies.
Mr. Kuznyatsow acknowledged that a potential Chinese investor was delaying a decision on the acquisition of a stake in Belaruskali. "The Chinese are probably still thinking. We have told them the price and our terms. They are thinking whether or not these terms are acceptable for them," the official said. Mr. Kuznyatsow said that the matter had not been discussed during Alyaksandr Lukashenka`s visit to China in October.
In an interview with BelaPAN, economist Syarhey Chaly described the valuation as an adequate price. "This is a fairly conservative valuation," he added.
The expert noted that Belaruskali should have the same value as Canada`s Potash Corp, the world`s largest potash producer. "The value of Potash Corp has been raised from $29 billion to $39 billion. It`s clear that the price tag is a bit overstated as there`s much interest in the company [from buyers]. But on the whole, Belaruskali may have roughly the same appraisal value considering that assets in the industry are in brisk demand in the market," Mr. Chaly said.
However, Yury Volov, an analyst at the Bank of Moscow, said that the value of Belaruskali was overstated.
He referred to Uralkali, Russia`s potash company that has an appraisal value of $10 billion. Belaruskali`s output capacity is 50 percent higher than that of Uralkali and consequently it should be valued at $15 billion, he stressed.
Belaruskali was transformed into a stock corporation fully owned by the state in August this year.
Belaruskali is on the list of state enterprises targeted for privatization in 2010. However, First Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka told reporters in August that the government would be in no hurry to sell control of the potash giant.
Mr. Syamashka said in June that the government was ready to sell 25 percent for between $6 billion and $7 billion.