Norway fertiliser maker Yara mulls Australian deal

Norwegian fertiliser company Yara would like to boost its current 35-percent stake in Australian ammonia maker Burrup and is considering whether to match Apache Corp's bid for 65 percent of the firm.

"As we have said several times, we would like to increase our share in Burrup, but it will have to be done only if the conditions are right," CEO Joergen Haslestad told Reuters on the sidelines of a business conference.

Apache agreed last month to buy a 65 percent stake in Burrup in a deal estimated to be worth A$560 million and Yara has until Jan. 31 to decide if it wants to match the offer.

"We are in the process of considering it and we will see," Haslestad said. "There are several alternatives and we will look into all of them."

Asked about Yara's Libyan operations in the wake of the ouster of leader Muammar Gaddafi, Haslestad said he thought Yara's 50-percent owned fertiliser factory in Brega, 700 km (435 miles) west of Tripoli, would reopen in six months to a year.

The plant, a 50-50 joint venture with the state-owned National Oil Corp. of Libya, was closed last spring as rebel forces and troops loyal to Gaddafi clashed nearby.

"We are in discussions with the Libyans now and things in Libya are starting to normalise in some ways," Haslestad said. "In the next six months to a year we hope to start production."

(Source: Reuters)

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