Yara International

Yara International ASA
Traded as OSE: YAR
Industry Chemicals
Founded 1905
Headquarters Oslo, Norway
Key people
Svein Tore Holsether (President and CEO), Leif Teksum (Chairman)
Products Nitrogen fertilizers, nitrates
Revenue Increase NOK 111.897 billion (2015)[1]
Increase NOK 14.104 billion (2015)[1]
Profit Increase NOK 8.083 billion (2015)[1]
Total assets Increase NOK 118.863 billion
(end 2015)[1]
Total equity Increase NOK 75.727 billion
(end 2015)[1]
Number of employees
12,883 (end 2015)[1]
Website www.yara.com

Yara International ASA is a Norwegian chemical company. Its largest business area is the production of nitrogen fertilizer,[2][3] however it also encompasses the production of dry ice, nitrates, ammonia, urea and other nitrogen-based chemicals.

The company was established in 1905 as Norsk Hydro – the world’s first producer of mineral nitrogen fertilizers – and de-merged as Yara International ASA on March 25, 2004. Yara is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and has its headquarters in Oslo. The company has more than 12,000 employees, production sites on six continents, operations in more than 50 countries and sales to about 150 countries.[4]

The Norwegian government owns more than a third of Yara and is its largest shareholder.[5]


The company has three primary areas of activity:[1]

  1. - Industrial products: a wide range of nitrogen and specialty chemicals in addition to CO2, dry ice, and civil explosive solutions.
  2. - Environmental solutions: solutions for NOx abatement, odor control, water treatment and corrosion prevention.
  3. - Agricultural products: complete portfolio of fertilizer covering all necessary nutrients for any crop.

Structurally, there are three business platforms and operating segments (Upstream, Downstream, and Industrial), coordinate through the Supply and Trade platform to ensure synergies:[1]



The history of Yara dates back to the founding of modern Norwegian industry. Modern Yara began with the establishment of Norsk hydroelektiske kvelstoffaktieselskab, or Norsk Hydro, as it later became known, in December 1905 after nitrogen fertilizer was successfully produced at Notodden.[6]

Eyde, Birkeland, Wallenberg

Norsk Hydro was founded by Sam Eyde, who ”brought the vision”, Kristian Birkeland, who ”brought the science”, and Marcus Wallenberg, who ”brought the capital.”[7] The contributions of these three men all were essential to the establishment of Norsk Hydro.[8] Norsk Hydro used Norway’s large hydroelectric-energy resources to produce its first product. The company pioneered direct nitrogen fixation, called the Birkeland-Eyde process. This contribution to the fertilizer market attracted global attention as the product enabled farmers to boost their yields.


Hydrolectric power was, as mentioned, essential in order to produce the nitrogen fertilizer. As a consequence, the company built two major power plants – one at Notodden, and one in Rjukan.[9] The company adopted an international perspective early, sending its first shipment to China in 1913.


Norsk Hydro was founded on advanced research and driven by a need to diversify and develop new industries. The production of mineral fertilizer was successful, and the company expanded into other businesses such as oil and metals. In 1969, Norsk Hydro entered into its first joint venture, with authorities in Qatar. With access to a competitive source of gas and a strategic location in the Middle East, the joint venture opened up a global market for the company.



Norsk Hydro in the 1970s was shaped under the leadership of Johan Berthin Holte, CEO 1967 to 1977.[10]

By the 1970s, the company was established in Asia, the Middle East and North America. The late 1970s to the mid-1980s was a period of rapid growth, through the acquisition of major fertilizer companies in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. At the end of the 1990s, the company was also established in Brazil and South Africa.


In 2004, Hydro Agri de-merged from Norsk Hydro and became an independent company called Yara International ASA. The company was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange on March 25, 2004 and is a leading producer of ammonia, nitrates, nitrogen products, and NPK specialty fertilizers.[11] Since then, Yara has continued to expand its global presence through investments in other countries, with many acquisitions, joint ventures, and new projects, primarily in Africa and North and South America.

In July 2006 Yara paid $126 million for a controlling share in Fertibras. This acquisition gave Yara more than 99% of the voting stock in Fertibras[12] and 15% of Fosfertil, the largest producer in Brazil of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers.[12]

Yara Prize

In 2005 Yara celebrated its centennial by responding to a call for an African Green Revolution with the launch of its prize to recognize outstanding contributions to African agriculture. In 2014, the Yara Prize will focus on rural youth and the future of farming in Africa, including food and nutrition security and employment and income generation.[13]


In 2008, Thorleif Enger retired, and Jørgen Ole Haslestad became CEO. On his appointment, Haslestad stated: "Yara must continue its growth strategy. The company has many exciting opportunities to pursue, for instance when it comes to the environment, where we contribute to better balance in agricultural development and deliver some interesting industrial solutions to environmental problems."[14] Haslestad held the office until 2014, when the company fired him, saying they needed someone who could complete the upcoming merger negotiations and that Haslesrad had been on the point of retiring.[5] Svein Richard Brandtzaeg ten days earlier had decided not to leave Hydro to take over the helm of Yara,[15] after contract negotiations were leaked and charges were laid against Enger, the prior CEO.[16] In January Yara reached an agreement with Vale to sell its Brazilian shares of Fosfertil for $785 million US.[17] Also in 2010, ANZ Bank called in the receivers on the 65% share of Burrup owned by , which was later sold to Yara and to Apache Corporation of New York, which had a gas supply agreement with Burrup.[18] In 2016 the Oswal couple was still litigating the fairness of the proceedings, alleging coercion.[18] Radhika has also been accused of dodging a $186 million tax bill. Also in separate proceedings, her husband is alleged to have taken more than $150 million from entities associated with the fertiliser plant and to have spent the money on private planes and other luxury goods. The two left Perth for Bubai in 2010.[18]

On February 25, 2011 the US Treasury Department lifted sanctions that had been in place against Yara subsidiary Libyan Norwegian Fertilizer because of its affiliation with the Libyan government.[19][20]

In March 2011 the Dutch government froze about €3 billion in Libyan assets, including Yara's Sluiskil joint venture, half-owned by the LIA and the NOCL[21] On August 3, 2011 Yara announced that it was selling its share in its Russian Rossosh NPK plant for $390 million US, or 2.1 billion kroner (NOK)[22]

In 2013 Yara was enmeshed in a scandal that involved many companies and transactions that may not have taken place, Dagens Næringsliv. Norway's business daily, reported that Yara had paid over eight million Norwegian krone to Shukri Ghanem, formerly Libya's prime minister, oil minister, and senior commander of the state oil company. Ghanem had been found dead in the Austrian Danube in 2012.[23] Yara issued fictitious invoices to account for the money transfers, which were deposited in the bank account of a relative of Ghanem in the UBS Bank in Switzerland.[23] The Norwegian (Økokrim) anti-corruption agency noticed the payments in 2011. The head of the upstream segment, Tor Halba, had warned of possible corrupt practices in an 2008 internal email. Investigators came across the payments when they seized business records for two Swiss-based businesses, one of them Yara's fertilizer trading subsidiary, Balderton. Yara's own investigation uncovered additional corruption in India.[23] Økokrim charged the company with gross corruption in both cases.[23]

On October 26, 2013 Yara acquired OFD Holding Inc.(OFD) from Omimex Resources Inc. for US $425 million, gaining production facilities in Colombia and distribution companies across Latin America.[24]


Norwegian authorities had been informed by the company in 2011 that it might have been involved in corruption in connection with 2008 negotiations leading to 2009's investment of 1.5 billion Norwegian kroner into a 50% share of Libyan Norwegian Fertiliser Company,[25] or LIFECO.[26]

In January 2014, the corporation agreed to pay a $48 million fine in a case involving corruption between 2004 and 2009. The company admitted bribing senior government officials in India and Libya, as well as to suppliers in Russia and India.[27] The fine was the largest ever of its kind in Norway.[28] The case puts two cohorts of Yara executives up against each other.[29]

On 10 January 2014 the Norwegian Cabinet approved the indictment of former deputy CEO Daniel Clauw in connection with Norway's investigation of Yara.[30] Three other Yara executives were also indicted in the case.[31] They were sentenced July 7, 2015. Enger, the former CEO, received the harshest sentence, three years. The former chief legal officer, Kendrick Wallace, was given a 2½-year sentence, and Clauw and former upstream coordinator Tor Halba were given two-year sentences.[32] Yara International announced in September 2014 that it was in talks with CF Industries about a possible merger of equals, a deal worth over $27 billion.[33][34]

In February 2016 the two urea and two ammonia plants Yara has in Brega were operating at less that 50% of their capacity.[35]

Acquisitions, joint ventures and expansions

Libyan Norwegian Fertiliser Company B.V.,[46] registered in the Netherlands, is co-owned by Yara and "Libyan partners ... with close ties to Muammar Gaddafi and his clan" according to Dagens Næringsliv.[47] Authorities have frozen the joint venture's bank accounts in the Netherlands.[48]




  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Financial Report 2015" (PDF). Yara International. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  2. "Mergers in the fertiliser industry". The Economist. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  3. Stigset, Marianne (15 July 2008). "Yara Quarterly Profit Gains Threefold; Buys Plant". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  4. "Company overview". Investor Relations.
  5. 1 2 Richard Milne (October 7, 2014). "Yara ousts chief amid $27bn merger talks with CF: Chairman of Norwegian fertiliser company rejects image of chaos". Financial Times. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  6. "1900-1905". yara.com.
  7. "That I can get for you!". yara.com.
  8. "Three remarkable men". yara.com.
  9. "1906-1919". yara.com.
  10. "A dynamic and visionary leader". yara.com.
  11. "Yara at a Glance(press release)". Yara Media Relations. March 2014.
  12. 1 2 "Yara buys controlling stake in Fertibras for $126m". ICIS News. 18 July 2006. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  13. "The Yara Prize". yara.com.
  14. "2008: Yara appoints new CEO". yara.com.
  15. Balazs Koranyi; Joachim Dagenborg (September 26, 2014). "UPDATE 2-New Yara CEO quits before he starts after merger talks announcement". Reuters.
  16. Richard Milne (October 7, 2014). "Yara ousts chief amid $27bn merger talks with CF: Chairman of Norwegian fertiliser company rejects image of chaos". Financial Times.
  17. "Yara to Sell Fosfertil Shareso". January 10, 2010.
  18. 1 2 3 Sarah Danckert (May 31, 2016). "PPB ran 'flawed' process for sale of Oswals' Burrup Fertiliser shares, court told". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  19. Office of Foreign Assets Control (February 25, 2011). "Executive Order 13566 of February 25, 2011: Blocking Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions Related to Libya: GENERAL LICENSE NO. 8A: General License with Respect to the Government of Libya, its Agencies, Instrumentalities, and Controlled Entities, and the Central Bank of Libya" (PDF). Libyan Sanctions Regulations: 31 C.F.R. Part 570. Department of the Treasury. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  20. Office of Foreign Assets Control (November 18, 2011). "Specially Designated Nationals Update". Libya Designations Removals:. US Department of the Treasury. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  21. "Dutch freeze Libyan assets". Dutch News. March 30, 2011.
  22. "Yara to sell its minority position in Rossosh".
  23. 1 2 3 4 "A top Norwegian fertilizer company, Yara embroiled in corruption scandal in Libya". Companies News. 26 March 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  24. 1 2 "New Yara acquisition in Latin America(press release)". Yara Media Relations. November 26, 2013.
  25. "Yara completes $225 mln Libya fertiliser deal". Reuters. February 9, 2009.
  26. Dagens Næringsliv, 2011-04-16, p.4
  27. "Norway's Yara fined $48 mln after cross-border bribery probe". Reuters. January 15, 2014.
  28. "Avslører en ukultur". VG.
  29. "Yara corruption trial set for early next year". News in English.no. April 3, 2014.
  30. Line Dugstad (2014-01-18). "Tiltale ble godkjent i statsråd". Dagens Næringsliv. p. 10.
  31. Line Dugstad; Morten Ånestad (2014-01-18). "Direktører peker på hverandre". Dagens Næringsliv. pp. 8–9.
  32. "Former Yara executives sentenced to prison in corruption case". World. Reuters. July 7, 2015.
  33. Yara, CF in talks to create $27 billion fertilizer giant. Reuters, 23 September 2014
  34. David Gelles; Chad Bray (September 23, 2014). "Fertilizer Makers Yara and CF Industries Discussing 'Merger of Equals'". DealB%k. New York Times. p. B9. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  35. Natasha Alperowicz (February 22, 2016). "Libyan fertilizer complex running at less than 50% of capacity". Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  36. "Yara acquires the minority stake in Russian fertiliser plant". Gasworld.com. February 10, 2005.
  37. "Timeline: Fertilizer maker Yara's ambitious expansion". Reuters. February 16, 2010.
  38. "2007:Yara announces Kemira GrowHow takeover". Yara. 2007.
  39. Wilhelmsen Maritime Services (August 22, 2007). "Press release - Yara and Wilhelmsen enter innovative environmental collaboration". wilhelmsen.com. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  40. "Sale of Saskferco is finalized (press release)". Government of Saskatchewan. October 1, 2008.
  41. 1 2 "Yara completes $225 mln Libya fertiliser deal". Reuters. February 9, 2009.
  42. "Yara JV Qafco signs letter of intent for expansion". Yara.com.
  43. "Yara acquires remaining 50% of Balderton Fertiliser (press release)". Cisionwire. January 28, 2010.
  44. "Yara to Buy Bunge Brazil Fertilizer Assets for $750 Million (press release)". Bloomberg. December 7, 2012.
  45. Yara International (October 21, 2013). "Yara and Wilhelmsen strengthen collaboration in maritime emissions reduction market". yara.com. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  46. "Nederland bevriest Libische tegoeden". nos.nl.
  47. Dagens Næringsliv, DN Magasinet, 2011-04-16, p.53: "Det har opprettet et selskap i Nederland sammen med libyske partnere som skulle vise seg å ha tette forbindelser til Muammar Gadaffi og hans klan."
  48. Dagens Næringsliv, DN Magasinet, 2011-04-16, p.53
  49. Yara International (May 6, 2014). "Yara approves dividend and share buy-back program and elects new chairperson". yara.com.
  50. 1 2 "Reitan stands down as Yara chairman". newsinenglish.no.
  51. Tone Iren Sørheim; Andreas Wolden Fredriksen; Sophie Lorch-Falch. "Reitan: - Ønsker mer tid med familien". E24.
  52. Johnsrud, Ingar (2 June 2012). "Slik skjules lønnshoppene" [Hidden Salaries] (in Norwegian). E24,. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  53. E24. "Yaras ryddegutt kommer fra korrupsjonsetterforsket selskap". E24.

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Coordinates: 59°54′52.70″N 10°42′54.15″E / 59.9146389°N 10.7150417°E / 59.9146389; 10.7150417

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