YARA International has confirmed it will take a controlling stake in Burrup Fertilisers, buying an extra 16 per cent.
The Norwegian fertiliser company already holds 35 per cent of Burrup Holdings, having bought the stake from Pankaj Oswal, the company’s former controlling shareholder.
Apache won control of Burrup in December after a year-long auction process run by the company’s receivers, PPB Advisory, paying a reported $560 million for the fertiliser producer.
After the share sale, for an undisclosed figure, Yara will hold 51 per cent of Burrup with Apache holding the minority stake.
Burrup was sent into receivership by the ANZ bank in December 2010, with over $900 million in debt allegedly owed by Mr Oswal.
Under the terms of a previous agreement with Mr Oswal, Yara had the right to pre-empt any other bidder for the profitable company. Yara said, however, it has reached an agreement with Apache to share ownership of Burrup.
The deal also clears the way for the construction of an explosives factory on the Burrup Peninsula using ammonia produced by Burrup, which could give Yara an entrance to the lucrative Pilbara mining industry.
Yara president Jorgen Ole Haslestad said in a statement this afternoon the technical ammonium nitrate plant will be 75.5 per cent owned by Yara, with Apache holding the remaining stake.
Mr Haslestad said Yara will also rename the business, in an effort to draw a curtain over the last year’s controversies.
“We will re-name our Burrup activity to Yara Pilbara, marking a more active role for Yara in the region as we move swiftly to establish Yara standards of corporate governance,” he said.
The sale marks the close of the company’s period in receivership, according to PPB Advisory, though not the end of the protracted legal battles that raged all last year.
In a statement this afternoon PPB partner Simon Theobald said Burrup Fertilisers will continue to press its claims against Mr Oswal and his wife Radhika over an alleged $200 million siphoned from the company during their time in charge of the company.