October 23, 2013 / 2:53 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Russia's Uralkali to slash H1 dividend by 53 pct

* Move follows tumbling first-half net profit

* Total H1 dividend payout to reach $205 mln

* EGM date set for Dec. 18, register date Oct. 29 (Adds details, context)

MOSCOW, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Russia’s Uralkali, the world’s largest potash miner, said it planned to slash its first-half dividend by 53 percent, year-on-year, after its net profit slid by the same proportion.

Uralkali is at the centre of a potash row between Russia and Belarus, triggered when the Russian company quit a joint sales cartel in July - rocking the global potash industry.

Since then Belarus has arrested Uralkali’s chief executive and fuelled speculation that the company’s main shareholder, billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, may have to sell his 21.75 percent stake.

Vladimir Evtushenkov, owner of the Russian oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema , on Tuesday became the first to publicly show interest in a stake in the potash producer.

The firm said on Wednesday its board of directors had recommended paying a dividend of 2.21 roubles per share, or about $0.35 per global depository receipt (GDR) for the first six months of 2013.

The total dividend payout for the first half will reach 6.5 billion roubles ($205 million), according to Reuters calculations.

Uralkali said in September its first-half net income fell 53 percent, year-on-year, to $397 million.

The board said the extraordinary general meeting of shareholders (EGM) would take place on Dec. 18 and determined Oct. 29 as the record date for the EGM and dividends.

The company has a policy of paying a dividend of not less than 50 percent of its annual net profit. It paid a dividend of 4.71 roubles per share for the first half of 2012 and 3.90 roubles per share for the second half of that year.

$1 = 31.6897 Russian roubles Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Alessandra Prentice and David Cowell

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