The giant potash company is tussling with a powerful businessman: the former son-in-law of the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet
Saskatchewan-based Nutrien Ltd. persuaded antitrust authorities earlier this month to sign off on its US$4.1 billion sale of its stake in a South American lithium producer. But now the giant potash company is tussling with a powerful businessman: the former son-in-law of the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Julio Ponce, a billionaire with a checkered past whose father-in-law previously ruled Chile, has filed a lawsuit seeking more time to review Nutrien’s US$4.1 billion sale in Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile to a Chinese buyer.
If the lawsuit delays the sale long enough, some analysts believe Nutrien may be forced to ditch its Chinese buyer and sell its stake in SQM on the open market — for as much as US$1 billion less than the original price.
The situation could change how foreign companies view Chile as a place to conduct business, and shows that while globalization has opened new markets for Canadian companies, it has also created new risks.
“We do believe that foreign companies will be watching the outcome of this case with interest,” said Will Tigley, a spokesman for Nutrien.