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Sinochem struggles to mount rival Potash bid: report

by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Sept 30, 2010
China's Sinochem Group is struggling to mount a rival offer to thwart BHP Billiton's hostile 40 billion US dollar hostile takeover bid for Canada's Potash Corp, a report said Thursday.

The state-owned company is having trouble finding a partner to make an offer for Potash, the world's biggest fertiliser maker, after talks broke down with Russian fertiliser group UralKali, the Financial Times said.

Sinochem had made earlier approaches to a Canadian public pension fund and Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek, the paper said, as the firm looks to soothe fears in Ottawa about Potash being sold to a Chinese state company.

Sinochem had also asked the Chinese government to back a potential bid, local media has reported.

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, reports have said.

China, a major importer of potash which is used to make fertiliser, has been uneasy about the BHP bid as it already buys large quantities of the company's iron ore.

Potash filed a lawsuit last week aimed at stopping the hostile takeover by the Anglo-Australian mining giant, saying its bid was built on "false and misleading statements and omissions." It had earlier described the 130 dollar per share all-cash offer as "wholly inadequate."

BHP dismissed the lawsuit as "entirely without merit", adding that the firm "will contest it vigorously."

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