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6 May, 2008 05:56

Interview with Aleksandr Popov

One of Russia’s largest fertiliser producers, Acron, plans to launch an SPO in London to raise about $US 1 billion. Acron’s vice president Aleksandr Popov revealed the holding’s 8-year investment programme, exclusively to RT.

Aleksandr Popov: Launching an SPO in London is the last stage for Acron in its development strategy. Earlier we planned to issue some 20% of the shares, but now we see that even less than that will be enough to raise $US 1 billion. The main reason is high prices for our production. And we think this growth will only continue.

Russia Today: Financial markets are quite volatile. Do you think it’s the right moment for such a move?

A.P.: Yes, in a way July is supposed to be not the right moment but we see dramatically high prices and very few listed shares of companies in our industry. We think these two conditions prove the future listing of Acron’s shares will be successful. Since October 2007 the capitalisation of our company increased from just over $US 1 billion to $US 4.8 billion. And on Monday the shares of Acron on both Russian stock exchanges topped $US 100 a share.

RT: What are the current investment plans of the company?

A.P.: We have worked out a programme which includes about $US 3 billion overall – $US 1.5 billion to spend on updating existing fields, the other half on greenfield projects and M&A activity. Currently we have two major deposits – a potassium field in the Urals and a phosphate field in the north of Russia. We plan to start receiving the first raw materials in 2011, two years ahead of schedule.

Currently we are negotiating with potential strategic investors to develop the Urals field together. After launching, both the fields will cover and even exceed refinery demand. Both fields are strategically important for us as they guarantee our supply of raw materials for fertiliser production.