August 7, 2015 / 12:07 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-K+S rejects Potash offer, promises on German jobs and mines

(Adds K+S statement, Potash Corp comment, company background, share activity)

By Andreas Cremer and Patricia Weiss

FRANKFURT, Aug 7 (Reuters) - German salt and fertilizer company K+S AG once again rejected Potash Corp of Saskatchewan’s takeover offer on Friday, saying the Canadian company’s assurances about maintaining jobs and mine sites in Germany were unreliable.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp sent an unsolicited letter to K+S’s management and supervisory boards, K+S said in a statement. The letter included a proposal for a “business combination agreement” based on an unchanged price of 41 euros ($44.82) per share.

The price is too low, and Potash Corp’s commitments on maintaining jobs and keeping mining sites open in Germany are not enforceable, K+S said.

Potash Corp, the world’s second-largest potash miner, wants to acquire No. 5 producer K+S as global competition ramps up among sellers. K+S has suggested Potash plans to shrink the company.

A Potash Corp representative confirmed the company sent a “private letter” to K+S’s boards, but would not comment further.

Shares of Potash Corp eased in New York and Toronto, while K+S stock climbed 1.4 percent in Frankfurt.

Potash Corp has been pushing to talk with K+S management despite the German company’s initial rejection last month of the Canadian company’s 7.9 billion-euro ($8.6 billion) bid of 41 euros per share.

Analysts have speculated Potash wants to acquire K+S, a higher-cost producer, to shut some production to support prices.

People familiar with the situation told Reuters that Potash offered K+S a guarantee it would keep German mines operating for five years.

If it acquires K+S, Potash Corp would finish building the German company’s Canadian mine and sell its potash offshore through Canpotex, Potash Chief Executive Jochen Tilk said on July 30. ($1 = 0.9148 euro) (Additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Michael Shields and Matthew Lewis)

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