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EuroChem Said to Near Deal With K+S for Nitrogen Trading Unit

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- OAO EuroChem, owned by K+S AG investor Andrey Melnichenko, is close to an agreement to buy the German potash maker’s nitrogen-fertilizer distribution unit, said two people with knowledge of the situation.

Talks are at an advanced stage and an agreement may come within the next three weeks, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private.

The asset should fetch at least 100 million euros ($134 million), one of the people said.

EuroChem is in the process of buying BASF AG’s nitrogen fertilizer operations for 700 million euros, 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 also the largest investor in Kassel, Germany-based K+S with a 9.88 percent stake, as of Jan. 26.

Spokespeople for EuroChem weren’t immediately available out of hours, while K+S declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Kirchfeld in Frankfurt at akirchfeld@bloomberg.net

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

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