Tata Chemicals sells Haldia Fertilser to Indorama group for Rs375 cr

Tata Chemicals has sold its phosphatic fertiliser business, including the Haldia fertiliser plant and associated operations, to India-born Indonesian billionaire Prakash Lohia for Rs375 crore – a transaction that will help Lohia expand in Asia's third largest economy.

Lohia's Indorama Corporation will acquire Tata Chemicals' Haldia plant in West Bengal, its phosphatic fertiliser brands, except its "outstanding subsidy amount" in the business.

Lohia, who is the brother-in-law of steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, is the largest fertiliser producer in sub-Saharan Africa. Besides fertiliser, Indorama has interests in textiles, synthetic disposable gloves and plastics.

''The board of directors of Tata Chemicals Limited on Monday considered and accepted the recommendations of the committee of directors for sale, disposal and transfer of its phosphatic fertilisers business, and the trading business comprising of bulk fertilisers and non-bulk fertilisers, by way of a slump sale, on a going concern basis, to IRC Agrochemicals Private Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indorama Holdings BV, Netherlands (part of Indorama Corporation Pte Ltd, Singapore),'' Tata Chemicals stated in a release.

The transaction would involve transfer of Haldia Plant, trading business of bulk and non-bulk fertilisers along with immovable, movable properties, working capital and product brands but excluding outstanding subsidy amounts.

The lump-sum-consideration for the transfer of the phosphatic business of the company by way of a slump sale is Rs375 crore, subject to certain adjustments after closing, as agreed between the parties in terms of the business transfer agreement (BTA).

The Tata Chemicals board also approved the execution of definitive agreements between the company, IRC and Indorama Holdings BV, Netherlands, for the sale and transfer of the phosphatic business from the company to IRC pursuant to the BTA and subject to satisfaction of conditions precedent and all regulatory and other approvals as may be required, including the approval of the shareholders under Section 180(1)(a) of the Companies Act, 2013.

Tata Chemicals said the divestment is in line with the strategic direction of the company to focus on speciality chemical and food businesses, while maintaining leadership in inorganic chemicals and exiting the fertiliser business.

The speciality chemicals portfolio of the company includes sodium bicarbonate business, agrochemicals through its subsidiary Rallis India, in addition to the planned investments in the greenfield sites in Nellore for Nutraceuticals and in Dahej for the HD Silica business.

The food business of the company includes the pulses, spices under Tata Sampann brand in addition to the market leading edible salt brand, Tata Salt.

The company is among leading soda ash manufacturers in the world, with operations in India, Kenya, South Africa, UK and USA.

Indorama with its subsidiaries in Asia, Africa, CIS and the Middle East has interests in manufacturing polyethylene, polypropylene, polyesters, fertilisers (including phosphoric aAcid, which is a key input for the manufacture of DAP and other complex fertilisers at Haldia), textiles, and synthetic disposable gloves. It is the largest producer of fertilisers in sub-Saharan Africa.

Speaking on the occasion R Mukundan managing director of Tata Chemicals, said the move builds on the company's earlier announcement with regard to the sale of the urea business to exit the fertilisers businesses completely.

''The company continues to move forward on its strategy to focus on speciality chemicals and consumer food business while maintaining leadership in inorganic chemicals business. The company is pleased to have found a partner with long-term interest in the phosphatic and fertiliser business who would build this phosphatic business further'', he added.