K+S AG shareholders think the value of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.'s $8.7-billion (U.S.) takeover bid is appropriate, the Canadian company's chief executive officer said on Wednesday.
"I will not put words in K+S shareholders' mouth but I think most of them, at this point, feel that is an appropriate offer in terms of a premium," Jochen Tilk said at an industry event that was archived on the company's website.
Potash Corp.'s proposal of €41 ($61) a share represents a 57-per-cent premium over K+S's average stock price over the past year.
Mr. Tilk's claim contradicts K+S's assertion that its shareholders believe the offer undervalues its business.
The German miner, Europe's main potash supplier, fears Potash Corp. will cut jobs, reduce production and put its potash project in Saskatchewan on hold.
But Potash Corp. has said that is not its intention and repeated on Wednesday that it would merge K+S's Saskatchewan mine into its North American operations.
"That's where the companies can work together," Mr. Tilk said.
Potash Corp. is the world's dominant fertilizer producer with its main operations and potash mines based in Saskatchewan.
Mr. Tilk acknowledged that K+S has so far refused to meet with Potash Corp. and said: "We are not actively engaged. I think that is evident by what is said in public. We are very quiet about it. Our objective is to make our strategic points."
K+S stock has been trading at least 20 per cent below the offer price, suggesting that investors do not think the deal will be consummated.
"Market conditions have changed. We think it is even more attractive now," Mr. Tilk said.
His comments come the same day K+S's chief financial officer was in Toronto meeting with Canadian investors.