City & Corporate: Buchanan and PBN in Russia-focused union

WPP agencies Buchanan Communications and PBN have inked a partnership to provide a combined financial comms offering to Russian firms looking to access the UK markets.

The partnership, dubbed Buchanan PBN, has already signed up its first client. The agencies will jointly provide comms support to PhosAgro, one of the world's largest fertilizer firms, as it looks to float in both London and Moscow.

PhosAgro is looking to raise $7-9bn and is potentially the largest IPO to come out of Russia this year, second only to the Glencore float in terms of size for all LSE listings in 2011.

London-based financial PR shop Buchanan will combine with longstanding Russian strategic consulting agency PBN to take advantage of the Russian government's privatisation programme, as well as Russian and CIS firms seeking a higher profile within international capital markets.

Bobby Morse, senior partner at Buchanan, said that the deal made 'perfect sense'. He added: 'We need a strong partner to access the Russian and CIS markets and PBN needs a strong partner to grow its financial PR offering'.

PBN has dominated the local PR market, but lost a number of senior financial communicators to M:Communications. Stuart Leasor, head of PBN's global financial comms, joined M: in 2008, followed by Tom Blackwell, MD of PBN's Moscow office.

Morse will co-lead the PhosAgro account, alongside Peter Necarsulmer, chairman and CEO of PBN.

PhosAgro is the largest producer of high grade phosphate rock in the world, which is used to produce a range of phosphate-based fertilizers that are sold across the globe.

Previously, Buchanan and PBN advised on the IPO of Russian firm Exillon Energy, while other IPOs from the region included Ferrexpo and MTS Russia. However, in 2010 Russian IPOs including Russian Helicopters and Euroset, were pulled or postponed because of tough market conditions.

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