Intrepid Potash IPO raises $960 million

NEW YORK Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:32am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Intrepid Potash Inc, a producer of crop nutrients, on Monday raised $960 million with an initial public offering of shares that priced above expectations.

The 30 million-share offering sold for $32 per share, according to an underwriter. At $32, the IPO price was $3 above the top of the $27 to $29 forecast range. The offering had already been increased from 24 million shares and an estimated price of $24 to $26 per share.

Underwriters, who include Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, RBC Capital Markets and BMO Capital markets, have the option to purchase an additional 4.5 million shares from the company.

Rising demand for grain across the globe, driven largely by the growing needs of developing economies and the increasing use of biofuels, have led to soaring food grain prices.

Farmers trying to boost yields are using more fertilizers, leading to tight global supply conditions for crop nutrients and bumper profits for fertilizer producers.

Intrepid Potash, which accounts for about 1.5 percent of global potash production, is well-placed to take advantage of this growing demand, making it attractive to investors even in a dull market for initial public offerings.

Shares of North American fertilizer producers have risen dramatically in the last 12 months -- and companies with sizable potash assets have been among the biggest winners in the sector.

CNBC's Jim Cramer has recommended Intrepid Potash's stock on his television show.

The company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "IPI" (IPI.N).

(Reporting by Emily Chasan and Aarthi Sivaraman; Editing by Braden Reddall and Quentin Bryar)

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