Yara International ASA recently announced that it has sold its indirect holding in Chilean company SQM, with a profit before tax of approximately $80m and a strategy to focus on the company's key growth areas.

Since 2001, Yara has held an indirect equity share of the Chilean mining company, Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM), through the Chilean intermediate holding companies Pampa Calichera, Oro Blanco, Norte Grande and SQYA, currently equal to approximately 8% on a fully diluted basis.

Yara has decided to sell its ownership in SQM to entities controlled by its partner, Sr. Julio Ponce. SQM's successful development of its iodine and lithium businesses has increasingly exposed Yara to businesses other than that of fertiliser, with the shares sold to re-deploy funds to Yara's focused growth areas.

The company has also had a global marketing agreement in place since 2001, for specialty fertilisers produced by SQM, which has been very successful for both parties. The sale of the shares will have no impact on the marketing agreement, which both parties continue to see as mutually beneficial.