Vale to get $1.35 billion less for fertilizer business

Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE), the world’s largest iron ore and nickel miner, said in a securities filing on Tuesday that on January 8, 2018, it will conclude the sale of a fertilizer unit to US-based Mosaic Co. (NYSE:MOS) with adjustments. The changes will reduce the price tag of the sale by $1.35 billion.

The South American miner revealed that it wants to retain control of the TIPLAM port terminal, located in Brazil’s southeastern region and which was originally included in the deal. Even though Mosaic will still have the right to use the port facility, the plan change means that Vale will not receive the initially agreed $2.5 billion but it will get instead $1.15 billion plus 34.2 million shares in Mosaic, equivalent to 8.9 per cent of its total share capital.

Back in December 2016 when the negotiation was announced, Mosaic had agreed to pay the highest amount for Vale’s stake in Peru's Bayovar mine, the firm’s Kronau potash project in Canada and most of its phosphate assets in Brazil, including the terminal but excluding the nitrogen and phosphate assets in Cubatão, which will be bought by Norwegian chemical company Yara for $255 million.

Despite the last-minute modification, Mosaic’s President and CEO, Joc O’Rourke, said in a press release that his company’s plans in Brazil have not changed. “We look forward to completing the transaction and working to realize the exceptional opportunity this acquisition presents,” he wrote.

The transaction between Vale and the world’s No.1 producer of phosphate fertilizer is part of the former’s strategy to cut debt and focus on its core businesses.