EuroChem interested in acquiring BASF’s fertilizer assets
Sep. 15, 2011
German group BASF said earlier this year it would sell major parts of its nitrogen fertilizer business, which is under pressure from low-cost producers in the Middle East such as Saudi Basic Industries.
Melnichenko told Interfax earlier on Wednesday, in remarks confirmed to Reuters by a EuroChem spokesman, he was eyeing the purchase of a large asset in Europe soon.
"We are negotiating now, and will announce the results next week. We plan to acquire a large asset in Europe, and will close the deal tentatively in the (latter part of September)," Melnichenko was quoted as saying.
The EuroChem spokesman declined to comment further. BASF also declined to comment.
Norwegian company Yara International has repeatedly said it was interested in buying BASF's fertilizer assets, saying they would complement its nitrate business in Europe.
Bloomberg last week reported two people familiar with the matter as saying Yara was the frontrunner in the bidding for the assets while Egyptian group Orascom Construction Industries was also a suitor.
The businesses up for sale, with a combined annual capacity of about 2.5 million tonnes of fertilizer, comprise plants in Antwerp, Belgium, and BASF's 50 percent share in its PEC-Rhin joint venture with French company Total.
BASF said in March the assets it was putting on the block accounted for less than 1 percent of group revenue, which would imply less than 640 million euros ($875 million), based on 2010 results.
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