China may probe BHP’s bid for Potash: report

BEIJING (BestGrowthStock) – China may launch an antimonopoly probe into BHP Billiton’s $38.6 billion bid for Canada’s Potash Corp, the China Business News said on Wednesday, citing a source familiar with the matter.

China will also review the merger case of two Russian potash firms — Uralkali and Silvinit — given the major impact the two deals would have on China, the paper cited the unnamed source as saying.

Government departments and state-owned Sinochem Group have held meetings recently to review the possible impact the two high profile acquisitions could have on China, which is a major purchaser of fertilizer, and about possible countermeasures, according to the source.

BHP, the Anglo-Australian mining giant, last month launched a hostile takeover bid for Potash Corp, the world’s largest fertilizer company.

Industry analysts have noted that China, as a big importer of potash, would not like to see further concentration in the market that could affect the price of the key fertilizer. Some have mentioned Chinese companies or the government’s sovereign wealth fund as possible counter-bidders.

China’s largest fertilizer distributor, Sinofert Holdings Ltd, said last week it was worried about the impact that a BHP deal would have but would not say if its parent, Sinochem Group, was planning a rival offer.

On Tuesday, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, the home of takeover target Potash Corp, said it would have “lots of concerns” about a Chinese sovereign fund or state-owned company buying part or all of the company.

(Reporting by Michael Wei and Ken Wills)

China may probe BHP’s bid for Potash: report