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Acron buys 12% of shares in ZAT


Acron, a globally active Russian maker of mineral fertiliser, has accumulated a substantial minority stake of over 13% in state-controlled Zaklady Azotowe Tarnow (ZAT), Poland’s number one chemical group, despite the failure of its takeover bid for the company, it emerged on 19 July. The Russian firm paid nearly PLN 350m (approx. €84.1m) for the 12% of shares that it managed to obtain in the course of the bid. Acron is now the biggest minority shareholder in ZAT (the Treasury controls the company through a 32% stake) and may try to raise its holding, making it difficult for the state to sell ZAT to any other industrial buyer.

ZAT’s management board and the Ministry of the Treasury had strongly opposed Acron’s offer, arguing it undervalued the Polish firm and risked reducing it to a marginal role due to a substantial overlap in the two groups’ businesses. To ward off the bid, they pushed through a new share issue and a plan to acquire ZA Pulawy, another large state-controlled fertiliser maker. However, this did not prevent some of ZAT’s financial shareholders from accepting Acron’s offer.

According to Acron, a merger of the two groups offers substantial synergies in areas such as raw materials, logistics and infrastructure, new markets, and technological advances. ZAT’s manufacturing companies would become the base for Acron’s operations within the European Union and Polish chemical products gaining access to markets around the world through Acron’s sales network.

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