Thursday , October 28 2021

Nutrien will auction its SQM actions next Monday and mark the end of an era


The biggest business in recent years in the local market has a day and time to realize itself.

Yesterday at noon, the Canadian company Nutrien (continuation of Potash Corp.) registered in the Stock Exchange of Santiago the auction of the more than 62 million shares of the SQM series A, which represent almost 24% of its ownership. And adjusted the operation on Monday, December 3 at 9:15 a., Which will be held in the wheel room of the main stock exchange of the country.

This package must be purchased by Chinese Tianqi, which will mark a milestone: Nutrien will leave the property of SQM after 15 years, in which he appointed board members and participated in the company's decision making, and the Asian firm will enter instead.

The transaction, which will be led by Banchile Corredores de Bolsa, will have a minimum price of US $ 65 per share, for which the expected amount will be $ 4,066 million.

So, if there is no surprise, this operation will be marked by the controversy.

Compliance program

After the Free Competition Defense Court (TDLC) passed the agreement between the National Economic Prosecutor (FNE) and Tianqi in early October for the entry of the latter to the SQM property, a new negotiation began.

According to PULSO published in October, this is the project that China and Chile are making of the so-called compliance program, which is the compliance protocol that Tianqi has accepted with the FNE and which aims to limit the risk of illegal coordination between directors. of the two companies.

One of the most relevant details to protect has to do with the potential illicit exchange of information related to the lithium market, where both companies are the biggest players in the world.

Thus, they say sources that know about the process, they are ready for the next year: in April 2019, the three directors named Tianqi will be assumed in SQM, after the Chinese will have 60 calendar days to present their proposal to the board of the company Chilean miner.

This process is qualified by experts as "essential" and more important than the TDLC decree itself. Note that this new step is addressed, mainly, at the level of lawyers specializing in free competition and legislation on corporations.

In this context, the sources say, the Pampa group, which represents the interests of Julio Ponce, who controls the SQM through cascade companies, could press this way to improve, from their point of view, the conditions of the agreement that allowed the entrance of Tianqi to SQM.

A story of fights

In May of this year, an agreement was announced between Nutrien and Tianqi, through which this would buy the participation of the first in SQM.

The following month, the FNE announced the opening of an investigation to evaluate the possible impacts for the free competition that the operation could bring. This, after the complaints presented by Corfo and senator Alejandro Guillier.

In this way, the transaction was frozen while the investigation was expanded. At the same time, at the end of August, the FNE reported that it reached an agreement out of court with Tianqi where it established several measures to mitigate the risks that could entail operation in the matter of free competition.

The measures include that Tianqi will not choose directors, executives or employees of his company to be part of the board of directors of SQM and that neither the Chinese company nor its directors may influence or intervene for the benefit of Tianqi or to the detriment of the interests of the company . Chilean Mining.

After that, the agreement was taken to the TDLC to give its approval. In the middle of it, in September the accusations were made, where the Pampa group opposed the agreement.

In spite of it, the TDLC approved the agreement at the beginning of October, after the Pampa group returned to the position, but again their attempts were frustrated.

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