BASF says to sell K+S fertiliser stake

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German chemical giant BASF said on Thursday that it will sell its 10 percent stake in fertiliser group K+S as part of its plan to reduce debt.

BASF said the it would place up to 19.7 million shares in the German fertiliser group (10.3 percent of the company's share capital) with institutional investors in an accelerated bookbuilding transaction.

"With the expected capital gain from the sale, BASF aims to further optimise its balance sheet and continue to reduce its debt as previously announced," the company said in a statement.

At Thursday's closing price the stake was worth slightly over one billion euros.

Earlier this month BASF announced it plans to sell major parts of its fertiliser activities: a plant in Belgium and a 50-percent stake in a joint venture based in eastern France.

"Our fertiliser activities are profitable, but do not belong to our strategic core business," BASF executive in charge of chemicals, Andreas Kreimeyer, said at the time.

BASF, the world's biggest chemicals company, unveiled some record 2010 results last month, with its net profit leaping more than three-fold to 4.56 billion euros ($6.27 billion), though the year-earlier figure of 1.41 billion was in large part a reflection of the global economic slowdown.

© 2011 AFP

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