March 14, 2018 / 8:21 PM / in 10 months

UPDATE 1-Yara opens its first foliar fertilizer plant in Brazil

(Adds details on Rio Grande expansion)

By José Roberto Gomes

SUMARÉ, Brasil, March 14 (Reuters) - Yara Brasil Fertilizantes SA opened a new fertilizer plant in Brazil on Wednesday, as it strengthens its presence in one of the world’s fastest growing agricultural markets.

Some 100 million reais ($30.73 million) was invested in the plant, which will produce foliar fertilizer for crops including soybeans and corn. The new unit is in São Paulo state near the port of Santos, the company said.

Lair Hanzen, Yara’s chief executive in Brazil and vice-president of Yara International, said the country is one of the most important for the firm, deriving a quarter of its global sales from Brazil.

The company, which will also double production capacity at its Rio Grande unit, said it is investing 1.5 billion reais in the venture, 15 percent more than initially budgeted due to adjustments in the project.

Rio Grande’s expansion was announced in April 2016. When the work there is concluded in 2020 Yara will double its production capacity to 1.5 million tonnes of fertilizers, Hanzen said.

The fertilizer market in Brazil has been growing at an average rate of 3 percent in past years, Yara said, citing data from national fertilizers group Anda.

Hanzen said Yara has invested more than $3 billion in acquisitions and modernization projects in Brazil.

$1 = 3.2538 reais Reporting by José Roberto Gomes Writing by Ana Mano Editing by Susan Thomas

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