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Possible New Owner for Fertilizer Plant

Jason Parrott
Iowa Fertilizer Company could be under new ownership in 2016.

Iowa Fertilizer Company's new production plant being built in northern Lee County could soon have a new owner. Early indications are that the new owner would become the largest nitrogen fertilizer company on the planet once the deal is complete.

OCI N.V. (Amsterdam) and CF Industries (Illinois) announced Thursday that they have reached an agreement to combine their operations in a "transaction valued at approximately $8-billion."  The deal calls for a new company to be formed in the United Kingdom that would also have the name CF Industries.

A news release issued by both companies states that CF Industries would receive a roughly 72% ownership stake in the new company.  Its management team would also be in charge of the new company and the 10-member Board of Directors would include eight members from CF Industries current Board.

OCI N.V. would receive an ownership stake of about 28% along with $700-million in cash or shares in exchange for most of its nitrogen fertilizer production holding companies, including Iowa Fertilizer Company and OCI Nitrogen. CF Industries would also assume about $2-billion in debt.

The Boards of Directors for both companies have approved the deal, which is expected to be completed in 2016.

Construction is winding down at the new fertilizer plant near Wever, Ia.  Production is scheduled to get underway before the end of 2015.  It's unclear what the merger will mean for the plant and its employees. 

A spokesperson for the plant referred inquiries about the merger to CF Industries.  A spokesperson for CF Industries said the company could not comment on the merger until it was complete.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.