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Phosagro Buys Acron’s 51% in Yara Venture to End Dispute

OAO Phosagro, Russia’s largest producer of phosphate fertilizers, acquired OAO Acron’s controlling stake in the Nordic Rus Holding venture to help end a shareholder feud with Yara International ASA.

Phosagro’s affiliate Phosint Ltd. bought 51 percent in the venture, the fertilizer producer said today in an e-mailed statement. It is considering buying the remaining 49 percent from Yara, Phosagro said.

Yara “is in the process of negotiations” on its stake in Nordic Rus, Esben Tuman, a Yara vice president, said by telephone from Oslo, declining to elaborate. Acron and Yara have been battling over how to split the venture’s assets for at least four years.

Acron and Yara have been in a dispute over the venture, which owns 12 percent of Acron’s Dorogobuzh unit and 10 percent of Apatit’s common stock, Phosagro’s main production unit.

Acron said today it reached a settlement agreement with Yara, ending arbitration. Acron agreed to cede its 51 percent stake in Nordic Rus and in exchange acquire the venture’s 12 percent in Dorogobuzh and 3.7 percent of its own shares.

The 3.7 percent stake was acquired from Phosint for $77.9 million, Acron said in a separate regulatory filing today.

Phosagro, which held 50 percent of Apatit’s common stock before acquiring control over Nordic Rus, is in talks with other Apatit shareholders and expects to boost its stake to 75 percent of the voting rights in the “mid-term,” it said today by e-mail. The Russian government owns 26.7 percent of Apatit’s common shares, or 20 percent of share capital. The data on the holdings are from Phosagro’s initial public offering prospectus.

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