Yara completes $1 billion Qatar sale, starts share buyback

OSLO (Reuters) - Yara YAR.OL, one of the world's largest fertiliser makers, has completed a long-awaited sale of its stake in Qatar Fertiliser Company, paving the way for a significant share buyback program, the Norwegian company said on Tuesday.

Yara in March agreed to sell its 25% holding in Qafco to Qatar Petroleum for $1 billion, exiting a partnership that began more than 50 years ago, but the deal was conditional on regulatory approvals that have now been granted.

Oslo-based Yara will now initiate a buyback of up to 5% of its own shares, it said in a statement.

The company will buy up to 8.55 million shares on the open market and aims to purchase a further 4.85 million shares from the holdings of the Norwegian government - thus keeping the state’s stake in Yara unchanged at 36.2%.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik; editing by Jason Neely