UPDATE 1-K+S says private shareholders back rejection of Potash offer (Reuters U.S. – August 10, 2015)


FRANKFURT, Aug 10 (Reuters) – German salt and fertilizer company K+S AG has claimed support from private or retail investors for its rejection of a 7.9 billion euros ($8.6 billion) offer from Potash Corp of Saskatchewan.

K+S said on Monday it had surveyed private or non-institutional shareholders, who hold about 30 percent of its shares, and said more than 84 percent who replied were in favour of rejection, though it also said only about 28 percent had responded to its questionnaire.

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 bid worth 41 euros per share.

K+S, whose shares traded up 0.8 percent at 37.43 euros by 1130 GMT, lacks the protection of a big anchor investor, with nearly all its shares freely traded on the stock exchange, and the results of K+S’s survey provide the first real indication of how investors may respond to Potash Corp’s approach.

Only about 4 percent of the more than 39,000 private shareholders who participated in the survey said they would accept a 41 euros per share offer, K+S said.

“Our private shareholders have made their position clear,” Chief Executive Norbert Steiner said in a statement. “They share the assessment of the K+S board of executive directors and supervisory board that the current Potash Corp proposal fails to reflect the fundamental value of K+S.”

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