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Thu 18 Apr 2019 02:08 PM

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Saudi mining giant says to make first international acquisition

Ma'aden says deal for an 85% stake in the Mauritius-based Meridian Group is due to be completed by September

Saudi mining giant says to make first international acquisition

Saudi Arabia’s largest mining company, Ma’aden, will make its first international acquisition with the purchase of an African fertiliser distribution company.

The deal for an 85 percent stake in the Mauritius-based Meridian Group is due to be completed by September for an undisclosed fee, the company said in a statement.

Publicly-listed Saudi Arabian Mining Company, better known as Ma'aden, is seeking an all cash deal that will provide one of the Middle East’s largest phosphate producers with 3,000 staff and a network of operations across southern Africa, from Malawi to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The Saudi global mining giant said it will secure the remaining 15 percent of Meridian’s equity over four years on agreed terms linked to the performance of the African company.

Phosphate is used to produce fertiliser that is essential in replacing the phosphorous mineral that is removed from soil when agricultural plants are harvested.

“This acquisition marks a very important step in Ma’aden’s strategy to build global distribution channels for our fertilizer products,” said Darren Davis, president and CEO of Ma’aden. “As we continue to build one of the largest producers and exporters of phosphate fertilisers in the world, ensuring an efficient route to key growth markets is critical to our success.”

The southeast African market, like most of the African continent of one billion people, is witnessing increased demand for phosphate fertilisers that industry analysts expect to continue growing by 5 percent annually over the next decade, fueled by population growth and increasing education in the use of fertilisers.

“Ma’aden is acquiring unparalleled access to complementary distribution, blending and product development capabilities in this fast-growth region,” said Hassan Al-Ali, senior vice president for phosphate at Ma’aden. “This transaction will provide us with logistics advantages in Southeast Africa, and greater knowledge of on-the-ground customer requirements, both of which will be instrumental in better serving our customers.”

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