Uralkali reignites legal row over Force India takeover

Date published: September 27 2018

Uralkali: Missed out in Force India takeover

Russian Potash producer, Uralkali, have issued a fresh statement saying they intend to sue the administrators of the Force India team for “prejudicial and unequal treatment”.

Force India entered administration at the end of July and were eventually taken over by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, father of current Williams driver, Lance.

Uralkali were also wanting to become a serious contender to take over the team, but feels it lost out because of a “flawed sales process” that saw Stroll win the takeover battle with a significantly lower bid to what Uralkali tabled.

The Russian company said they had lodged an “extremely generous offer”, which would have included a cash consideration between £101.5m and £122m, with more than £40m going to Force India’s parent company.

“Despite Uralkali’s generous offer for the business and assets, which we believe was the best bid on the table, the administrators chose to enter into an exclusivity arrangement with another bidder and subsequently refused to reengage with Uralkali,” the company said in a statement.

“The Company sells its fertilizers to more than 60 countries worldwide, including 20 in which Formula One holds its Grand Prix Championship.

“For several years, Uralkali, together with one of its subsidiaries, has been a partner of Force India and one of the sponsors of the Russian Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi.

“Force India would be a highly effective and valuable marketing tool for the business.”

“We had a strong business case for acquiring Force India and we believe our bid was the best one tabled,” added Paul Ostling, an independent director of Uralkali.

“We have serious concerns as to why the Administrators did not use the opportunity to maximise the amounts that could have been paid to creditors and shareholders.”

Lawrence Stroll-led consortium saves Force India

But, administrators FRP Advisory say they are currently unaware of any legal claims being issued to the High Court in London.

“No such claim has been received by us or, as far as we are aware, by the Court,” the statement read.

“If a claim is issued it will be defended vigorously.

“We have fulfilled our statutory duties as administrators throughout this process and ultimately achieved a very successful outcome for all stakeholders.

“Any legal action brought against us will be defended vigorously, and we are confident it would be dismissed.”

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.