Bloomberg News

Yara to Assess Reported Apache Deal to Acquire 65% of Burrup

December 15, 2011

(Updates with Apache comment in last paragraph.)

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Yara International ASA, a Norwegian shareholder in Burrup Fertilisers Pty, will assess its position on a deal by Apache Energy to buy 65 percent of the Perth-based ammonia maker, in an accord reported earlier by The Australian.

“We’ve received the information independently from the media reports,” said Bernhard Stormyr, a spokesman for Yara. “Based on the information we have received we will now do an overall assessment of our position regarding this transaction. We don’t know exactly at what time we will reach a conclusion.”

Stormyr was unable to give the source of the information.

Apache Energy agreed with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. to pay $560 million for the stake, The Australian reported today, citing unidentified people close to the accord.

The deal may be halted by Indian businessman Pankaj Oswal’s wife, who’s asking the courts to block a sale of her 35 percent, or trumped by Oslo-based Yara, which must decide by February whether to exercise a right to buy 100 percent, it reported.

Receivers’ hopes of raising more than $1 billion have been dashed by legal wrangling and uncertainty over whether Burrup would retain access to cheap gas, the newspaper said.

Wesfarmers Ltd. expressed interest in buying the stake for almost $800 million last year before being rejected by ANZ, and Yara offered “slightly” less, according to The Australian. Apache supplies Burrup with natural gas, it said.

A new gas supply accord means Burrup pays higher prices than those agreed with Apache, Tap Oil Ltd. and Kuwait’s Kufpec in 2002, it reported, adding Yara refused to endorse the deal. Receivers PPB Advisory and ANZ declined to comment, it said.

“The matter is before the courts,” Bill Mintz, a spokesman for Houston-based Apache, said today in a telephone interview, declining to comment further.

--With assistance from Joe Carroll in Chicago. Editors: Tony Barrett, Amanda Jordan

To contact the reporter on this story: Meera Bhatia in Oslo at mbhatia2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Wienberg at cwienberg@bloomberg.net


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