WESTERN BRANCH HOLDING BUYS GRACE FERTILIZER UNITS

WESTERN BRANCH HOLDING BUYS GRACE FERTILIZER UNITS

W.R. Grace & Co. has completed the sale of two major fertilizer facilities to Western Branch Holding Co. of Chesapeake, Va., for approximately $55 million.

Of the total sales figure, about $33 million was paid in cash, and the remainder in notes and preferred stock of Western Branch.Included in the sale are Grace's ammonia and urea fertilizer plants located in Memphis, Tenn., and its converted nitrogen plant in Wilmington, N.C. Also included in the transaction were the company's nitrogen solutions terminals in Elmwood, N.C., and Orangeburg, S.C.

J.P. Bolduc, a Grace vice chairman, said: The sale of the Memphis and Wilmington facilities represents a major step in the divestment of our Agricultural Chemicals group. We expect increased activity in this divestment program as our team brings current negotiations to fruition.

As part of a major corporate restructuring program, the company has been divesting fertilizer units since late 1987. The divestment is expected to be substantially completed as scheduled by the end of this year.

Grace is an international specialty chemical company with selected interests in energy, manufacturing and service businesses.