Saudi Arabia’s largest mining company, Maaden, announced its first international acquisition with the purchase of an African Fertilizer distribution company.
The purchasing agreement was signed Thursday in Ras Al Khair Mining City in the Eastern Province.
Under this agreement, the publicly-listed Saudi Arabian Mining Company will acquire an 85 percent stake in the Mauritius-based Meridian Group.
The Saudi global mining giant will secure the remaining 15 percent of Meridian’s equity over four years on agreed terms linked to the performance of the African company, which distributes approximately half-a-million tons of fertilizer through its network of granulation and blending plants, warehousing complexes, and port facilities. The deal is expected to be completed by September for an undisclosed fee, according to parties linked to the deal.
“This acquisition marks a very important step in Maaden’s strategy to build global distribution channels for our fertilizer products,” said Darren Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Maaden.
Meanwhile, “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,” he added.
“Maaden is acquiring unparalleled access to complementary distribution, blending and product development capabilities in this fast-growth region,” said Senior Vice President for Phosphate at Maaden Hassan al-Ali.
He affirmed that this step will boost Maaden's 2025 strategy, which includes the expansion of sales operations outside Saudi Arabia, and significantly contribute to achieving Vision 2030, which aims at increasing non-oil exports, raising domestic output through diversifying sources of income and supporting the mining sector as the third pillar of Saudi industry.
Notably, Meridian Group includes 3,000 staff and a network of operations across southern Africa, from Malawi to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
The southeast African market, like most of the African continent of one billion people, is witnessing increased demand for phosphate fertilizers that industry analysts expect to continue growing by five percent annually over the next decade, fueled by population growth and increasing education in the use of fertilizers.