Saudi Arabian Mining Company buys 85% stake in Malawian firm Meridian Group

MALAWI – Ma’aden Marketing and Distribution, wholly owned by Saudi Arabian Mining Company has acquired 85% of Malawi’s – Mauritius headquartered largest phosphate producers Meridian Group.

Meridian group which distributes 500,000 tonnes of fertilizers across Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe comprises Farmers World Limited, Demeter Seed Limited, Malawi Fertilizer Company, Agora Limited, Grain Securities Limited, Liwonde Property Investment, and Optichem (2000) Limited.

The publicly listed Saudi Arabian mining company’s acquisition comes as part of the Saudi company’s plan to expand its global footprint in key markets.

Meridian co- chief executive officer Chris Giannakis confirmed the transaction on Thursday saying it was completed last year and cost no jobs.

In a statement, Ma’aden said the all-cash deal will provide the phosphate producer 3000 staff and a network of operations to expand in Africa.

“This acquisition marks a very important step in M’aaden’s strategy to build global distribution channels for our fertilizer products”.

Christopher Davies – CEO Ma’aden

Ma’aden president and chief executive officer Christopher Davies told Argaam in an interview that the company plans to add 3 million tons of phosphates by 2025.

He said, “This acquisition marks a very important step in M’aaden’s strategy to build global distribution channels for our fertilizer products”.

“As we continue to build one of the largest producers and exporters of phosphate fertilizers in the world, ensuring an efficient route to key growth markets is critical to our success”.

The remaining 15% of Meridian is expected to be acquired in the next 4 years, Ma’aden said in a statement.

The company distributes superfert fertilizers among other agricultural products which are core commodities for Ma’aden.

On Friday, the Competition and Fair-Trading Commission (CFTC) of Malawi said there has not been any application from Ma’aden Mining Company and Meridian Group for authorisation to effect the merger or acquisition.

CFTC spokesperson Innocent Helema said some mergers may fall under the ambit of COMESA Competition Commission (CCC) but indicated that there are prescribed thresholds for a merger or takeover to be notified to CCC.

He said “if the entities fail to meet the thresholds, they have to notify the local authority and in this case CFTC. “Based on the above, we would therefore like to encourage the parties to notify the merger as appropriate”.

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