China says will pay close attention to BHP bid for Potash

15th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

China said Wednesday it would pay close attention to BHP Billiton's hostile bid for Canada's Potash Corp, the world's largest fertiliser maker, in the first official comment on the issue.

"We will pay close attention to this transaction," commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian told reporters.

Potash last month rejected a hostile bid from mining giant BHP valued at 40 billion dollars.

China -- a big importer of potash, which is used to make fertiliser -- has been uneasy about the BHP bid, as it already relies on the Anglo-Australian mining group for the import of a lot of its iron ore.

"Fertilisers are a vital element of every country's agricultural production and are linked to national food and economic security," Yao said.

"China is a country that depends on imported potash, and China's dependence on potash imports stood at 55 percent in 2008."

Potash has said it is exploring other offers after rejecting BHP's bid, and local Chinese media have reported that state-owned Sinochem Group, the country's top fertiliser maker, is evaluating an offer for the Canadian firm.

© 2010 AFP

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