Saudi fertilizers producer Safco announced on 15 December a temporary shutdown of its Safco 4 plant, which has capacity to produce 1.1mn t/y of intermediate product ammonia and 1.1mn t/y of urea, as a result of a technical failure that occurred on 26 November. Safco says work is underway to repair the plant and carry out maintenance. The outage is expected to last 32 days, reducing the firm’s fourth quarter earnings by about SR90mn ($24mn). Safco operates five fertilizer plants at Jubail on the Gulf coast with capacity to produce 2.3mn t/y of ammonia and 2.6mn t/y of urea (MEES, 27 November).

Safco is owned 42.99% by Saudi petchems giant Sabic, with 12.24% held by state insurance fund GOSI and 44.77% traded on the Tadawul exchange. Safco recently bought Sabic’s Agrinutrients business, which comprises 50% stakes in Saudi fertilizer firms Ibn Al Baytar and Al Bayroni and 33.33% of Bahrain’s GPIC joint venture with Kuwait’s PIC and Bahrain’s Noga (MEES, 10 January). Safco financed the deal by issuing 59.4 million shares at SR10 ($2.67) each, raising its total share capital by 14.25% to SR4.76bn ($1.27bn) in November (MEES, 20 November). (CONTINUED - 186 WORDS)