OCI to sell IFCO stake to Koch Ag & Energy Solutions for $3.6 bln, shares jump

Credit: REUTERS/TYRONE SIU

Recasts, adds detail in paragraph 2 and 3, updates shares

Dec 18 (Reuters) - OCI's OCI.AS shares jumped by almost a quarter on Monday after the Netherlands-based chemicals maker announced its second stake sale in four days and said the pair of deals would bring it $7.2 billion in tax-free cash proceeds.

OCI said on Monday it had agreed to sell its stake in Iowa Fertilizer Company (IFCO) to Koch Ag & Energy Solutions for $3.6 billion as part of a strategic review launched earlier this year.

The proceeds from the deal, which is expected to close in 2024, will be used to significantly reduce debt, OCI said.

The company's net debt stood at $2.3 billion at Sept. 30.

"A return of capital to shareholders will be considered within the context of OCI's capital returns framework," it added.

The Dutch-listed company's shares were the biggest gainers on the pan-European STOXX index .STOXX, still up 21% at 24.56 euros at 1511 GMT.

On Friday OCI announced the sale of its 50% stake in ammonia and urea producer Fertiglobe to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for $3.62 billion.

OCI has been selling assets as it seeks to reduce debt, unlock more cash for shareholders and focus on greener chemicals such as lower-carbon ammonia and green methanol.

"This, in combination with the divestment of its Fertiglobe stake implies OCI will be meaningfully net cash, with significant potential to both return cash to shareholders and fund decarbonisation projects," Jefferies analysts said in a note.

ING analysts noted that after the two "transformative" disposal deals, the company nonetheless retains some nitrogen assets in Europe and methanol assets in Europe and the United States, with increasing exposure to the energy transition.

Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor to OCI on the IFCO deal while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is legal adviser.

(Reporting by Olivier Sorgho, additional reporting by Diana Mandiá Editing by David Goodman, Kirsten Donovan)

((Olivier.Sorgho@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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