UPDATE 4-Mosaic CEO sees opportunities to buy miners' fertilizer assets

Tue Aug 2, 2016 11:46am EDT
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(Rewrites throughout with Mosaic CEO interview, updates share activity)

By Rod Nickel and Amrutha Gayathri

Aug 2 (Reuters) - Miners that produce a diverse commodity mix may be willing to part with fertilizer assets, creating buying opportunities for producers of potash and phosphate, Mosaic Co Chief Executive Joc O'Rourke said on Tuesday.

Profits of fertilizer producers have tumbled because of falling prices, weak currencies in importing countries such as Brazil and excessive supplies.

Mosaic, the world's largest producer of finished phosphate products, reported lower-than-expected adjusted profit on Tuesday as crop nutrient prices remained weak. But the company joined larger rival Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc in saying that the worst was over.

Bigger miners may be unwilling to wait for recovery, O'Rourke said in an interview. Some of them question whether fertilizer fits their core portfolios as they look to sell assets and pay down debt, he said.

"We think some of these opportunities might come to fruition, and if they do, they may add some long-term value to us," O'Rourke said.

Reuters reported in June that Plymouth, Minnesota-based Mosaic was in talks to buy Vale SA's fertilizer unit, in a renewed push to grow in South America and Africa.

O'Rourke declined to comment on any talks with Vale.   Continued...