CHICAGO-Just hours after Dow Chemical Co. completed its $16.5 billion buyout of Rohm & Haas, the Midland, MI-based chemical company has agreed to sell Morton Salt to K+S Aktiengesellschaft. The German fertilizer maker has agreed to pay $1.68 billion for the Chicago-based company.

“We are pleased that we reached an agreement with K+S at an attractive value in such a short period of time,” says Andrew Liveris Dow chairman and chief executive.

The sale of Morton Salt had been considered part of the takeover plan from the beginning, with rumors of an impending sale leaking out weeks ago. The money will be used to pay off the debt Dow is incurring with the purchase of Rohm & Haas. According to reports about the purchase, Dow issued $7 billion in preferred stock and borrowed an additional $9.23 billion. The Morton Salt sale is slated to close by the middle of this year.

“Morton Salt is an excellent opportunity to grow our global salt business,” says K+S chairman Norbert Steiner. “It marks another milestone in our strategy towards balanced growth, enhances our profitability and as a result strengthens K+S Group overall, in Europe and Overseas. As one of the leading salt producers, Morton Salt offers us widespread, close-to-customer production sites in the U.S. and Canada and a nationwide distribution network. Through Morton Salt we gain access to new and less volatile de-icing regions. It extends and diversifies our geographic presence and enhances our positions in the North American consumer and industrial salt markets.”

According to a release on the subject, K+S has now become the the North American and global leader of salt. Last year, Morton Salt saw annual revenues of $1.2 billion and EBITDA of $270 million. The firm owns or operates six rock salt mines, seven solar evaporation facilities, 10 vacuum pan operations, 62 salt stockpiles and 61 distribution centers.

The Philadelphia-based Rohm & Haas has owned Morton Salt since 1999. The company has been a staple in Chicago since its founding in 1848. Now more than 2,900 people are employed by the salt company.