UPDATE 1-Norway's Yara makes $425 mln Latin America acquisition

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013 | 2:34 AM ET

* Maintains dividend target

* Seeking 8 mln tonnes of extra capacity by 2016

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OSLO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Fertiliser maker Yara has bought a string of assets in Latin America and continues to push ahead with other expansion plans, staying on course for its 2016 growth targets, it said on Tuesday.

Yara, the world's biggest nitrogen-based fertiliser maker, has agreed to buy OFD Holding Inc from Omimex Resources Inc for $425 million, including debt, picking up production, blending and distribution assets across Latin America.

"This deal marks a further step for our global growth ambition, adding almost half a million tons of upstream fertilizer capacity," Chief Executive Joergen Ole Haslestad said.

Yara is also moving ahead with plans to build an ammonia plant on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast with Germany's BASF and an ammonia nitrate plant in Australia with Orica , it said in a presentation to investors.

The firm said that previously announced plans would account for an about 3.3 million tonne increase in capacity while Tuesday's acquisition would put it nearly halfway to its 2016 target for 8 million tonnes of extra capacity.

Tuesday's acquisition will give the firm production and distribution assets in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and Bolivia. It said it was "highly complementary" to a recent Brazilian acquisition.

Despite the rapid expansion, Yara maintained its target of returning 40 to 45 percent of its net income to shareholders, including a minimum 30 percent in the form of dividends.

It added that its new earnings scenarios, based on various market conditions, indicated a spread of earnings per share (EPS) in a range of 19-54 crowns depending on whether the market was supply or demand driven.

In the scenarios presented last year, the range in earnings was 20-57 crowns per share, while its 2013 EPS is seen at 26.6 crowns, according to a consensus of analysts.

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Mark Potter)

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