Russia's Acron to buy fertilizer plant from Brazil's Petrobras

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias looks on during a news conference at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil July 3, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras confirmed in a securities filing on Friday that it has reached a deal to sell the fertilizer plant UFN3 to Russia’s Acron Group.

Earlier, Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias announced the sale, saying she was briefed by Petrobras Chief Executive Joaquim Silva e Luna and Mining and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque on the deal for the plant, which has been up for sale since 2017.

Petrobras and Dias did not provide a price for the deal. Dias said that should be one of the topics of President Jair Bolsonaro’s official trip to Russia Feb. 14-17.

The signing of the agreement depends on Petrobras and government approvals, it said in the securities filing.

Brazil, one of the world’s top food producers and exporters, needs to import fertilizer and prices have risen steeply due to a global shortage. Increased imports from Russia will be on Bolsonaro’s agenda in Moscow.

Acron, a leading mineral fertilizer producer in Russia and globally, had been in talks with Petrobras about buying the plant in 2018 that were suspended and resumed last year.

The designed capacity of the UFN3 plant, also known as Nitrogen Fertilizer Unit III, is 800,000 tons of ammonia and 1.3 million tons of carbamide per year.

Before the company’s official announcement, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that it was “pretty much all arranged” with Acron.

Acron did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Additional reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Gabriel Araujo, Peter Frontini and Anthony BoadleEditing by Marguerita Choy and Mark Potter