Sawiris-owned company sells $3.6 bln stake in American fertilizer producer

Ahram Online , Tuesday 19 Dec 2023

Global hydrogen products company OCI, 43.54 percent owned by members of the Egyptian Sawiris family, has sold its stake in the US-based major company Iowa Fertilizer for $3.6 billion to a subsidiary of the Koch Industries, according to a press release on Monday.

Nassef Sawiris, majority shareholder in OCI.
Nassef Sawiris, majority shareholder in OCI. Company s website.

 

The deal is awaiting anti-trust governmental approval and customary closing conditions, which is expected to be granted in 2024.

OCI said that the deal is part of a strategy announced in March 2023 that aims to improve the company’s value and create a capital return for shareholders. The company expects the deal to lower its debt.

Nassef Sawiris holds a 38.58 percent stake in OCI while his brother Sameh Sawiris holds 4.96 percent. US, UK, and Norwegian investors hold 16.07 percent. A total of 41.92 percent of the company’s shares are listed on the Euronext Amsterdam, according to the market data website, MarketScreener.

“Our strengthened balance sheet will support the acceleration of our strategy in the field of decarbonization projects, driving future growth and supporting the energy transition goals we share with many of our stakeholders, establishing us as a leader in the low carbon space,” Nassef Sawiris, executive chairman of OCI, said.

OCI’s CEO Ahmed El-Hoshy said that the company is continuing to operate in the US, including a blue ammonia project in Texas that is expected to be completed in 2025.

"Combined with the recent sale of Fertiglobe, OCI is crystallizing $7.2 billion of tax-free gross cash proceeds. The resultant financial profile provides significant flexibility to achieve all OCI's goals, including to explore future value accretive growth opportunities and to afford the ability to meaningfully return capital to shareholders,” Chief Financial Officer at OCI Hassan Badrawi commented.

On Friday, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) bought OCI’s stake in Fertiglobe for $3.62 billion, according to a bourse filing.

Fertiglobe, listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, is the largest nitrogen fertilizer producer in the Middle East and North Africa, and an early mover in sustainable ammonia, with production facilities in Egypt, Algeria, and the UAE.

The three billionaire Sawiris brothers – Naguib, Nassef, and Sameh – are among Egypt’s wealthiest businessmen, with Nassef holding the position of wealthiest Arab in the world. Their father, Onsi Sawiris, who passed away in June 2021, built the family’s fortune by founding the Orascom conglomerate in 1950. The conglomerate’s activities span the construction, tourism, telecommunications, technology, and industrial sectors.

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