Oslo (2008-09-29): Yara International ASA ("Yara") announced today that it has obtained approval from the Canadian Federal Minister of Industry under the Investment Canada Act in connection with Yara's proposed acquisition of all of the outstanding shares of Saskferco Products ULC. ("Saskferco"). Yara has now received all regulatory approvals necessary to complete the investment.
Yara's President and Chief Executive Officer, Thorleif Enger, said he was "delighted with the Minister's approval," which he noted is consistent with Yara's belief that, "through Yara's commitment to the growth and expansion of Saskferco, the acquisition of Saskferco will be of great benefit to both Yara and Saskferco, as well as to the Province of Saskatchewan and to Canada as a whole". Mr. Enger added that the investment perfectly complements Yara's existing commercial activities in North America and that Yara will provide Saskferco with "new ownership committed to investing in Saskferco as part of Yara's core business".
Saskferco, a private company owned 50% by Mosaic Co., 49% by Investment Saskatchewan and 1% by Canada Imperial Bank of Commerce, operates a world-class nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facility in Belle Plaine, Saskatchewan.
Following the transaction, Saskferco will continue to be headquartered in Regina under the leadership of its existing management team, including Fred Gill, as Saskferco's Chief Executive Officer, and Dennis Terry, as Chief Financial Officer. No significant changes in staffing levels, strategic orientations or operations are expected as a result of the transaction.
Mr. Gill welcomed the news of the approval having been obtained. According to Mr. Gill, "Yara's acquisition of Saskferco will enable us to pursue our current expansion plans for our Belle Plaine facility. Because Saskferco's business constitutes Yara's core business, we have found the ideal owner in Yara. I am confident that this is a win-win situation for all Saskferco stakeholders."
In order to obtain the Minister's approval under the Investment Canada Act, Yara has provided to the Minister a number of important commitments in respect of Saskferco's management, operations, growth, and employees as well as in respect of capital expenditures to increase productivity and capacity at Saskferco's nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing facility.
Yara is a widely-held public company. The shares of Yara are listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and are freely tradeable. Yara's largest single shareholder is the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry ("NMTI"), holding approximately 36% of Yara's issued and outstanding shares. Apart from NMTI and the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme Fund (which holds approximately 5% of Yara's shares), no other shareholder holds more than 5% of Yara's issued and outstanding shares.
As a Norwegian public company, Yara operates in a sophisticated corporate governance environment that ensures a division of roles between the company and its shareholders and promotes market transparency with respect to the company's decision-making process. Yara's nominating process for directors, for example, requires that three of the eight directors be elected by the company's employees. As well, pursuant to Norwegian corporate legal requirements, the (non-executive) Board of Directors of Yara assumes the overall responsibility for the company. As such, the laws and corporate governance practices of Norway that are applicable to Yara as a public company compare very favourably to those of Canada.
Torgeir Kvidal, Investor Relations
Telephone (+47) 24 15 72 95
Cellular (+47) 91 33 98 32
Hamed Brodersen, Media Relations
Cellular (+47) 40 46 81 10
Saskferco is a leading-edge producer of nitrogen fertilizer striving continuously to meet the needs of agricultural and industrial customers in Canada and the United States. Since Saskferco began producing granular urea and anhydrous ammonia in 1992, commitments to quality, efficiency and safety have made the company a leader in the industry.
Yara International ASA is a leading chemical company that converts energy, natural minerals and nitrogen from the air into essential products for farmers and industrial customers. As the number one global supplier of mineral fertilizers and agronomic solutions, we help provide food for a growing world population. Our industrial product portfolio includes environmental protection agents that safeguard air and water purity and preserve food quality. Yara's global workforce of more than 8,000 employees represents great diversity and talent enabling Yara to remain a leading performer in its industry.www.yara.com