Soquimich Companies Surge on Lower Discount Prospects

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Norte Grande SA and Soc. de Inversiones Oro Blanco SA rose the most in two years in Santiago trading on speculation the two companies will have more direct ownership of Chile’s biggest fertilizer maker.

Norte Grande jumped 9.6 percent to 8.6 pesos, the steepest advance since June 5, 2008. Oro Blanco gained 8.9 percent, the most since Oct. 13, 2008, to 9.8 pesos.

Soc. de Inversiones Pampa Calichera SA said in a statement after the close of trading yesterday that Oro Blanco raised its stake to more than 95 percent, giving minority holders the option to sell shares to Oro Blanco. Norte Grande controls Oro Blanco while Calichera is the largest shareholder in fertilizer producer Soc. Quimica y Minera de Chile SA. The three holding companies are owned by Julio Ponce.

“The market is betting that the discount at which Norte Grande and Oro Blanco trade relative to Soquimich will be much lower, which is pushing the stock price up,” Alvaro Pipino, head of research at IM Trust, said in a telephone interview.

Soquimich, as the fertilizer company is known, gained 2.1 percent to 23,823 pesos. Soquimich submitted a $100 million plant expansion project for environmental approval, according to a statement on the environmental regulator’s website.

Calichera climbed 0.8 percent to 991.14 pesos. Chile’s Ipsa equity index rose 0.8 percent.

Link to Company News:{NORTEG CI <Equity> CN <GO>}

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at