Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT) said Monday that its board voted unanimously to reject BHP Billiton's (BHP) hostile $38.5 billion takeover offer because it doesn't reflect the strong growth Potash believes it is poised to enjoy.
The Canadian company, the world's largest potash miner, says its share price had been depressed by the global recession but should rise as growth in agriculture boosts demand for potash, which provides potassium, a key ingredient of fertilizer.
"BHP Billiton is opportunistically attempting to transfer the upside value in Potash Corp. to its own shareholders at the expense of Potash Corp. shareholders," the company said.
The potash market is reaching an "inflection point" characterized by increased global demand for the mineral and rising prices that will boost the company's profits, it said.
BHP Billiton, the world's biggest mining company, launched the hostile $130-a-share takeover last week after Potash directors rejected its efforts to get an agreement for a deal from the board.
Some analysts say Potash may be trying to flush out a rival bidder, mentioning Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto and Chinese agribusiness SinoChem as potential suitors.
Rio Tinto's CEO Tom Albanese last week declined to comment.
Li Qiang, director of the general office of SinoChem, said Monday that the company is following the deal but had no comment on it.
The "fertilizer business is a major business of our company, so we will surely pay great attention to opportunities that suit our characteristics in the global market."
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.