County issuing bonds to build Indiana nitrogen plant

25 June 2013 22:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The Posey County council has voted unanimously in favour of issuing $1.3bn (€0.9bn) in bonds for Midwest Fertilizer’s purposed nitrogen plant to be built in southwestern Indiana, Posey County Economic Development Partnership officials confirmed on Tuesday.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence last week helped clear the way for the project to go further when he told the Indiana Finance Authority not to impede in the development despite the fact that the state withdrew their financial support for the project in May.

This action was the result of concerns that fertilizer products produced by the company were being used to make homemade explosives used against US soldiers overseas.

In December 2012 the Indiana Finance Authority issued $1.3bn in bonds for the construction of a nitrogen facility west of Evansville, Indiana. The Posey County partnership will now be the issuer of those bonds.

The county is also preparing to offer an additional $143m tax incentive package to the company.

Economic Development Partnership executive director John Taylor said details of the tax incentives are not available for release at this point. He did say the project, which is expected to create more than 300 permanent jobs and have an annual payroll of $17.9m, is still being well received despite the state withdrawing its support..

“I cannot discuss the incentive package as there has not been an acceptance to date. The bonds will be remarketed until Monday July 1,” said Taylor. “The community supports the construction and operation of this facility."

The company has a 48% ownership stake from the Fatima Group, which is a fertilizer manufacturer based in Lahore, Pakistan. The rest of the ownership is a consortium of international investors.

A spokesperson for Midwest Fertilizer said the plant is expected to produce ammonium nitrate and will use natural gas as feedstock. The facility is anticipated to take three years to construct and eventually cost approximately $1.8bn.

The company expects to complete regulatory clearance and financing arrangements by December.

No details on capacity or production timeline have been released. The exact site has not been determined, but county officials said three areas within the community are being considered.

In response to the criticism over the use of its product to make improvised explosives, the company said earlier this year that the fertilizer was reformulated to make it less likely to detonate. In May US defense officials said they had not tested the new version in order to validate those claims.

By: Mark Milam
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