Yara buys Tata Chemicals' India urea business for $400 million

The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals and Indian court sanctions

Salil Panchal
Published: Aug 10, 2016 02:37:06 PM IST
Updated: Aug 10, 2016 05:35:51 PM IST

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

Yara buys Tata Chemicals' India urea business for $400 million
Image: Ole Walter Jacobsen

Norwegian chemicals giant Yara International ASA on Wednesday announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire the Tata Chemicals Babrala urea plant and distribution business in Uttar Pradesh for $400 million.

This will be on a debt and cash free basis, including normalised net working capital, the Nordic firm said in a media release issued on its website.

Yara president and chief executive Svein Tore Holsether called the acquisition a “significant step” in their growth strategy “creating an integrated position in the world’s second-largest fertilizer market.” India has strong population growth and increasing living standards, and significant potential to improve agricultural productivity,” he added.

The Tata Chemicals Babrala plant – which was commissioned in a record 36 months in 1994, the fastest for a fertiliser plant -- has an annual production of 0.7 million tonnes ammonia and 1.2 million tonnes urea. It generated revenues of $350 million in FY2016. The plant is viewed to be one of the most energy efficient plants in India.

Tata Chemicals is the world’s second largest producer of soda ash with manufacturing facilities in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.

Yara has worked in India since the 1990s, focusing on premium product sales in western and southern regions of the country. Yara’s pace of growth in India would accelerate with this acquisition, creating a larger market footprint for Yara and enabling increased premium product sales in particular.

The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals and Indian court sanctions. This process could take between 9 and 12 months following which the transaction would be closed, the Yara statement said.

An integration team comprising Tata Chemicals and Yara staff will be put in place for this operation, said Terje Knutsen, senior vice president and Head, Yara Crop Nutrition.

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