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K+S, EuroChem Said to Start Talks Over BASF-Tied Nitrogen Unit

OAO EuroChem, owned by K+S AG investor Andrey Melnichenko, is in talks with the German potash maker over the purchase of a unit that distributes nitrogen fertilizer, three people with knowledge of the situation said.

Talks are at an early stage and an agreement could be reached by early next year, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. Melnichenko may pay for the asset with K+S shares, and the asset should fetch at least 100 million euros ($135 million), people said.

EuroChem is in the process of buying BASF AG’s nitrogen fertilizer operations for $947 million, and adding the K+S distribution business would complement those assets. K+S, which is focusing on potash and salt, has an exclusive agreement to sell output from the BASF plants being acquired by EuroChem.

Melnichenko is the largest investor in K+S with a 9.88 percent stake.

Spokespeople for EuroChem and K+S declined to comment.

To contact the reporters on this story: Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at rweiss5@bloomberg.net; Andrew Noel in London at anoel@bloomberg.net; Yuliya Fedorinova in Moscow at yfedorinova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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