3 Min Read
* Potash Corp managers met Hesse government members
* K+S says nothing was offered that would warrant negotiations
* Potash Corp says was seeking to address concerns by Hesse (Adds comments from Potash and Hesse spokesmen, industry background)
By Patricia Weiss
FRANKFURT, July 21 (Reuters) - Salt and fertilizer group K+S has rejected a new attempt by Canada's Potash Corp to entice the German company into takeover talks, a K+S spokesman said on Tuesday.
K+S earlier this month rebuffed Potash Corp's 7.9 billion euros ($8.65 billion) proposed bid of 41 euros per share as too low and suggested the suitor was planning to shrink the company.
A K+S spokesman said Potash Corp Chief Executive Jochen Tilk had met the state premier of the German regional state of Hesse - where K+S is headquartered - and had handed over documents about Potash Corp's plans to preserve jobs after a takeover. K+S was also given the documents.
"We've looked into these statements and concluded that they contain nothing substantial beyond what we had already been given in writing. That's why we still see no basis for talks," the spokesman said.
A Hesse government spokesman confirmed the meeting had taken place at the request of Potash Corp but declined to comment further. State premier Volker Bouffier has said he would fight to preserve K+S's German sites.
A Germany-based spokesman for Potash Corp said the company had in the meetings laid out the advantages of a tie-up for K+S and Potash, while trying to allay the state of Hesse's concerns.
K+S has suggested that about 40 percent of its German operations were at risk because Potash has more cost effective idle capacity in Canada.
Analysts and investors say this is an exaggeration, citing prohibitive shipping costs from Potash Corp's main hub in Saskatchewan to Europe.
Potash Corp previously committed funds to boost its annual capacity to more than 17 million tonnes over the next few years, up from almost 11 million tonnes in 2015, but it is now reining in production amid a boost in supply from major rivals Uralkali and Belaruskali, who stopped collaborating two years ago. ($1 = 0.9131 euros) (Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Susan Thomas)