Potash board unanimously rejects hostile takeover bid
Published 24/08/2010 | 05:00
POTASH Corp's board yesterday voted unanimously to reject BHP Billiton's hostile $38.5bn (€30.3bn) takeover offer, saying it doesn't reflect the strong growth the company believes it is poised to enjoy.
The Canadian company said it was in talks with several companies who had either app-roached it or with whom it had initiated contact.
"Discussions are being pursued with several of these third parties in order to generate value-enhancing alternatives," it said.
Potash, the world's largest potash miner, said its share price had been depressed by the global recession but should rise as growth in agriculture boosts demand for potash, a key ingredient of fertiliser.
"BHP Billiton is opportunistically attempting to transfer the upside value in Potash Corp to its own shareholders at the expense of Potash shareholders," it said in a statement.
The potash market is reaching an "inflection point" characterised by increased global demand for the mineral that will boost profits, it said.
BHP, the world's biggest mining company, launched the hostile $130-a-share takeover last week after Potash directors rejected its behind-the-scenes efforts to get agreement for a deal from the board.
Some analysts say Potash may be trying to flush out a rival bidder, mentioning Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto and Chinese agribusiness SinoChem as potential suitors. Rio Tinto's CEO Tom Albanese last week declined to comment.
Li Qiang, director of the general office of SinoChem, said the company was following the deal but had no direct comments on it.