DES MOINES — A state senator from southeast Iowa says the Iowa Fertilizer Company near Wever has been a massive economic success for the region and is poised for possible expansion. The Dutch company that owns the facility is selling it to Koch Industries for $3.6 BILLION, if federal regulators approve the deal.
Senator Jeff Reichman is a Republican from Montrose, which is about 20 miles northeast of the plant. “I am personally excited about the sale and I share the excitement with Southeast Iowa Regional Planning, Greater Burlington Partnership and Lee County Economic Development about the possibilities of expansion and investment,” Reichman says.
Democrats in the Iowa House say the sale will make consolidation in the fertilizer industry worse and will likely lead to higher fertilizer prices for Iowa farmers. They also say the tens of millions in state and local tax breaks awarded more than a decade ago to the company that built the plant were intended to spur competition with Koch Industries, which is the country’s largest privately-held company.
Reichman says liberals are obsessed with Koch Industries because Charles and the late David Koch have been influential donors to Republican candidates. “They are a leader in this fertilizer market and do want to continue to grow,” Reichman says.
The fertilizer plant was first proposed in 2012 as a project of Orascom, a construction company based in Egypt. Orascom was purchased the following year by O-C-I, which is headquartered in the Netherlands.