Silvinit Investors Back $2Bln in Loans

Silvinit, the country's biggest potash producer, said Monday that shareholders approved borrowing more than $2 billion from banks to pay for the right to develop part of the world's second-largest deposit of the mineral.

More than half of Silvinit's shareholders voted in favor of three loans totaling 49 billion rubles ($2.06 billion) from banks including state-run Sberbank and VTB Group, the company said. Shareholders approved the transactions at meetings on April 19 and May 3.

Silvinit's Kamskaya Mining unit won a government auction in March for the rights to the Polovodovsky section of the Verkhnekamskoye deposit, bidding 35.1 billion rubles. Polovodovsky has more than 3 billion tons of potash ore, which is refined into potassium compounds used to make fertilizers. That equals 75 percent of rival Uralkali's total reserves.

Dmitry Rybolovlev, who controls Uralkali, and his partner Vladimir Shevtsov own more than 25 percent of Silvinit and voted against the loans.