BHP Billiton makes cash offer for Potash

After the board of fertiliser giant Potash Corporation had earlier unanimously rejected a proposal from BHP Billiton to acquire the company, BHP Billiton executives hit back today making its $130 (£83) per share offer directly to Potash’s shareholders.

Despite the fact that the Potash board had stated that the offer substantially undervalued the company at $40bn, BHP Billiton chairman Jac Nasser said that he believed that the shareholders would find the cash offer a very attractive one, and BHP Billiton plans to formalise it by way of newspaper advertisements on 20 August. The offer will be open for acceptance until 19 October, unless the company extends the deadline further.

Potash Corporation is the world’s largest integrated fertiliser and related industrial and feed products company and the largest producer of potash worldwide.

The company owns and operates five potash mines in Saskatchewan and one in New Brunswick, as well as holding mineral rights at the Esterhazy mine in Saskatchewan where potash is produced under a mining and processing agreement with a third party.

Potash’s phosphate operations include the manufacture and sale of solid and liquid phosphate fertilisers, animal feed supplements and industrial acid, which is used in food products and industrial processes.

It has an integrated phosphate mine and processing plant in North Carolina, a phosphate mine and two mineral processing plant complexes in northern Florida and six phosphate feed plants in the US. It can also produce a variety of phosphate products at its Geismar facility in Louisiana.

Potash Corporation’s nitrogen operations involve the production of nitrogen fertilisers and nitrogen feed and industrial products, including ammonia, urea, nitrogen solutions, ammonium nitrate and nitric acid. It also has nitrogen facilities in Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio and Trinidad.

In 2009, Potash had consolidated revenues of $3,977m, gross assets of $12,922m and net assets of $6,501m.