July 16, 2009 / 1:44 PM / 10 years ago

CORRECTED - Vale mulls bid for Cargill's Mosaic -paper

(Corrects figure in second paragraph to $90 billion that Vale was reported to have offered for Xstrata)

SAO PAULO, July 16 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Vale VALE5.SA(VALE.N), the world’s largest iron ore miner, may bid for fertilizer company Mosaic (MOS.N), which is controlled by commodity giant Cargill and IMC Global, a local paper said on Thursday.

Vale, after nearly paying a reported $90 billion in a failed bid for mining rival Xstrata XTA.L over a year ago, has changed its approach and is targeting smaller acquisitions with particular emphasis on the fertilizer sector.

The Estado de S. Paulo newspaper calculated the deal to be worth $25 billion based on the outstanding shares of the company, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, at $20 billion plus a $5 billion premium for control of the company.

Vale spent $850 million this year on the purchase of potassium assets in Argentina and Canada.

Minnesota-based Mosaic Co, a joint venture between Cargill and agricultural firm IMC Global, is a major producer of phosphate used in fertilizers, as well as a big producer of potassium, with units in several U.S. states and in Canada.

Mosaic also controls 62 percent of Brazilian fertilizer producer Fospar, which has a terminal at Paranagua port. It also has a 42 percent stake in the Cubatao Fertilizer Industry, which mixes and distributes fertilizers in Brazil.

It also has a nearly 20 percent stake in local fertilizer heavyweight Fosfertil.

Vale has been exploring for potassium in the Taquari-Vassouras mine in Brazil’s northeastern state of Sergipe, the paper said. It is also developing a phosphate production project in Bayovar, Peru.

Vale told Reuters its policy was not to comment on rumors when asked about a bid. Cargill has not responded to requests for comment about the report.

Mosaic shares are up more than 10 percent in premarket trade at around $49. (Reporting by Reese Ewing; Editing by Derek Caney)

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