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Brunei sells stake in JPMC to two Indian companies

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World Fertilizer,

According to Reuters, Brunei, which is the largest shareholder in Jordan Phosphate Mines Co. (JPMC), has reached an agreement to sell a 37% stake in the company to the two largest fertilizer importers and producers in India.

Indian Potash Ltd and Kisan International Trading FZE – a subsidiary of Indian Farmer Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) – reportedly purchased the stake in JPMC from Kamil Holdings Ltd, owned by the Brunei Investment Agency. According to Reuters, the deal is reportedly worth approximately US$130 million. Potash Corp. and Mitsubishi were also in the running to buy the stake in the phosphate producer, which produces up to 7 million tpy of rock phosphates. According to the company’s estimates, it has mining rights over 1 billion t of the country’s 1.5 billion t of proven reserves of phosphate.

Reuters reports that Brunei initially purchased the stake from Jordan in 2006. At the time, the country was looking to attract foreign investment in an IMF-guided privatisation scheme to sell stakes in key state enterprises. The Brunei deal was aimed at providing the company with a stronger financial foundation, but was later critiqued by Jordan’s parliament for alleged corruption, part of a backlash against privatisation and economic nationalism that was apparent in the nation.

According to Reuters, Brunei has been attempting to divest its holding in the company ever since former CEO Walid Kurdi (a relative of the royal family who fled the country in 2012) was sentenced to 22 years in prison in absentia on charges of embezzlement of millions of dollars. Jordan reportedly recently stated that it wished to purchase the shares back, although plans to take back control of some of the key companies, such as JPMC, never materialised.

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