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China's Sinochem asks government to back Potash bid: report

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sept 19, 2010
China's state-owned Sinochem Group has asked the government to back a potential bid for Canada's Potash Corp, the world's largest fertiliser maker, local media reported Sunday.

"Sinochem has submitted written material to relevant agencies in the government saying that potash (used to make fertiliser) is key to national food security, and hoping it can get support," the Economic Observer reported.

Potash is currently at the receiving end of a 40-billion-dollar hostile bid from mining giant BHP Billiton, which it rejected last month.

China -- a big importer of potash -- has been uneasy about the BHP bid, as it already relies on the Anglo-Australian mining group for the import of a lot of its iron ore.

Citing sources close to the situation, the paper said Sinochem had already made a preliminary evaluation of a potential bid, which had revealed the group would need 40 to 60 billion dollars to rival BHP in its offer.

It added that the group -- China's top fertiliser maker -- did not have sufficient funds to make the bid on its own, and would need to team up with another firm.

According to the sources, Sinochem has been in touch with Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek concerning a potential bid, but nothing has yet been decided.

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