May 18, 2017 / 7:17 PM / 7 months ago

SQM governance changes no signal of Potash Corp interest in bigger stake: CEO

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Governance changes at Chile lithium producer SQM, which give shareholder Potash Corp of Saskatchewan greater influence, do not reflect any intent by Potash to raise its stake, Potash Corp’s chief executive said on Thursday.

Jochen Tilk, who takes over as Potash Corp's chief executive officer in July, attends the company's annual general meeting in Saskatoon, May 15, 2014. REUTERS/Derek Mortensen

Three top shareholders in SQM have agreed to change the way board decisions are made at the global supplier of lithium, a move that will see controlling shareholder Julio Ponce cede some power and Canada’s Potash Corp gain more say.

“It doesn’t demonstrate any intention,” CEO Jochen Tilk told Reuters in New York. “We’ll move forward on improved governance and that’s really all that there is at this point - no reflection on any further strategic thinking.”

Potash Corp holds just over 30 percent of SQM and has three board seats. Tilk has previously said it is reviewing whether to increase or divest that stake, and shares in three other companies.

Those decisions will be made after a planned merger between Potash and Agrium Inc, which is scheduled to close in mid-2017, Tilk said.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in New York, editing by G Crosse and Chizu Nomiyama

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