Soquimich sells Melón stake

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Chilean industrial mineral producer Soquimich (NYSE: SQM) sold its 14% stake in local cement company Empresas Melón on Wednesday on the Santiago stock exchange.

The operation involved the sale of 653,748,837 shares at a price of 67 pesos/share, giving a total of 43.8bn pesos (US$69mn), Soquimich said in a filing to the country's securities regulator (SVS).

While a reason for the sale was not mentioned, local press reports add that the mineral producer decided to sell the stake because it was not a strategic asset and did not fall under business plans.

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France's Lafarge controls Melón, which for the first half of this year held the top market share position in regard to shipments with 37.6% (696,423t), followed by Cemento Polpaico with 33.5% (620,326t) and Cementos Bío Bío with 28.9% (534,268t).

Soquimich is one of the world's largest producers of natural fertilizers, industrial minerals and lithium.