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UPDATE 1-Russia's Uralkali forms potash trading JV with Malaysia

Monday, 9 Dec 2013 | 2:50 AM ET

(Adds details, context)

MOSCOW, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Russia's Uralkali, the world's largest potash producer, is to create a joint venture for potash distribution with Malaysia as it seeks to boost sales in South East Asia, the company said on Monday.

The move comes amid rising competition among potash producers, fuelled by Uralkali when it quit a sales alliance with a peer in Belarus earlier this year, hitting global prices.

Malaysia, along with other countries in South East Asia, is a major market for the crop nutrient due to demand from its palm oil industry.

"This joint venture is another step to further improve our sales net in South East Asia, which is a strategically important region for Uralkali," Viktor Belyakov, Uralkali acting chief executive, said in a statement.

The joint venture with the Federal Land Development Authority of Malaysia (FELDA) will focus on securing potash deliveries to government plantations including those owned by FELDA in Malaysia and other countries, Uralkali said.

FELDA is a major shareholder of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), the world's third-largest palm plantation operator.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Megan Davies and Mark Potter)