BASF SE chose to sell the bulk of its nitrogen-fertilizer assets, which are located in Antwerp, Belgium, to EuroChem instead of Yara, which had been speculated to be the front runner for the sale. The deal was valued at 700 million euros ($947 million). BASF also plans to sell its 50 percent share of the joint venture PEC-Rhin in Ottmarsheim, France, to EuroChem, which is based in Moscow, Russia. The deal is expected to close by the first quarter.

About 330 workers at a site in Antwerp, Belgium, will move to EuroChem, as will 190 employees at a French joint venture. The transaction marks the third-largest acquisition of an agricultural chemicals company announced this year.

In Antwerp, the scope includes plants for CAN/AN (calcium ammonium nitrate/ammonium nitrate) fertilizers, Nitrophoska fertilizers and nitrophosphoric acid as well as three related nitric acid plants. BASF is in the process to carve out the activities into a separate company.

 BASF also plans to sell its shares in PEC-Rhin, which produces CAN/AN fertilizers and the respective intermediates, ammonia and nitric acid. The company is a 50-50 joint venture with GPN, a member of the French Total group, and currently has about 190 employees.

“Our very skilled team and the highly competitive plants will have a sustainable future and will create additional value with a strategic buyer whose core business is fertilizer,” said Andreas Kreimeyer, Ph.D., member of the board of executive directors of BASF SE, responsible for the chemicals segment. “Furthermore, EuroChem is an excellent partner to support our Verbund concept at the Antwerp site.”

Dmitry Strezhnev, CEO of EuroChem, commented “With the acquisition of BASF’s fertilizer complex in Antwerp, EuroChem will be gaining high-quality production assets with superior logistics that provide it with further geographical diversification and significantly improve its proximity to European customers. The same would be true for the 50 percent share of PEC-Rhin. This is in line with our strategy to increase our share in the global fertilizer industry through both organic expansion and targeted acquisitions. We are also pleased to become BASF’s long-term industrial partner on the integrated Antwerp site.”

The fertilizer activities have a total annual capacity of approximately 2.5 million metric tons of fertilizer and account for less than 1 percent of BASF Group’s total sales. BASF’s fertilizer operations in Ludwigshafen are not included in the scope of the divestment.