K+S Gains After Kassel Public Prosecutor Halts Waste-Water Probe

  • Shares rise as much as 6.2%, biggest gain in six months
  • Meiningen prosecutors still pursuing management charges

K+S AG gained the most in more than six months after one investigation into the German company’s waste-water disposal from mining failed to find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

There wasn’t enough evidence the potash supplier manipulated documents in connection with an April 2015 permit application to inject salty water underground, the Kassel, Germany-based company said on Tuesday in a statement. K+S shares rose as much as 6.2 percent to 22.43 euros, on track for the steepest gain since Nov. 25, and traded 5.7 percent higher at 1:29 p.m.

“After conducting a detailed examination of the allegations, the public prosecutor’s office concluded that there were insufficient grounds for suspecting attempted or actual water pollution or the unlawful procurement of a public permit by manipulating documents,” K+S said in the statement.

The decision in Kassel to stop the investigation doesn’t mark the end of the potash producer’s legal battles. In a separate case, public prosecutors in the German town of Meiningen have charged 14 people at K+S, including Chief Executive Officer Norbert Steiner and other members of the management board, with illegally disposing of mine waste and polluting waters.

The Meiningen charges stem from the period spanning 1999 to 2007 when saline waste water was deposited in Gerstungen, a town in the state of Thuringia, Meiningen prosecutors said in March. K+S officials and local authorities colluded to illegally produce licenses for the disposals, the prosecutors said. They are seeking to make K+S an associated party to the case and seize any gains the company made had from the action.

K+S maintains that the permit it obtained was lawful. The company extracts potash in Germany and is developing a new mine in Canada. The business also has a salt unit and owns the Morton Salt brand in the U.S.