Home Business Potash Corp, Agrium merge to create $36 billion company

Potash Corp, Agrium merge to create $36 billion company

One of the storage facilities at Potash Corp.'s Rocanville mine, one of Saskatchewan’s lowest-cost potash mines. (Image courtesy of Potash Corp.)

Agrium and PotashCorp to combine in merger to create a world-class integrated global supplier of crop inputs

Staff Reports
news@the419.com

NEW YORK (AP) — Potash Corp. and Agrium said Monday that they are combining to create the world’s largest crop nutrient company.

The Canadian companies both sell fertilizers and nutrients to farmers that help them grow their crops.

The new company will have 20,000 employees, a market value of $36 billion and annual revenue of $20.6 billion, the companies said.

A name for the new company will be announced before the deal closes in the middle of next year.

Potash shareholders will own about 52 percent of the new company and Agrium shareholders will own about 48 percent. As part of the deal, Potash shareholders will receive 0.4 of a share of the new company for every Potash stock they own. Agrium shareholders will receive 2.23 shares of the new company for every Agrium stock they own.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. are both based in Canada. The new company will be based in Potash’s headquarters of Saskatoon.

Agrium CEO Chuck Magro will be CEO of the new company and Potash CEO Jochen Tilk will be executive chairman.

Shares of Potash fell 21 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $16.76 in midday trading Monday while Agrium shares fell $1.37, or 1.4 percent, to $93.84.


Creating a World-Class Integrated Global Supplier of Crop Input

Audio and presentation detailing the merger

Strategic and financial benefits of the merger

  • Pre-eminent, low-cost producer of potash and high-quality nitrogen and phosphate: The new company will have a balanced nutrient portfolio that includes world-class potash production and complementary high-quality nitrogen and phosphate operations. It will have the lowest-cost potash production assets and reserves in North America, and a meaningful platform to benefit from continued growth in global potash demand. The merger also results in more diversified and complementary geographic and product portfolios in nitrogen and phosphate, with the North American nitrogen business expected to continue to benefit from low-cost feedstock and local distribution.
  • Leading retail-distribution platform combined with two world-class nutrient production platforms: The new company will have a retail distribution platform encompassing crop nutrients and other input products, services, and solutions with operations in seven countries. The company will continue to emphasize innovation and growth in proprietary products, grower services, and distribution, with customers and suppliers benefiting from a broad agricultural solutions offering. The combined production footprint will drive freight savings and other operational efficiencies.
  • Significant value creation from synergies: The combination is expected to generate up to US$500 million of annual operating synergies primarily from distribution and retail integration, production and SG&A optimization, and procurement. The synergies imply value creation for the combined enterprise of up to US$5 billion, or a 20 percent increase above the combined market capitalizations on August 29, 2016. The all-stock nature of the transaction allows all shareholders to participate in the benefits of the combination. The new company is expected to achieve approximately US$250 million of these synergies by the end of the first year after closing with the full run-rate achieved by the end of the second year. The transaction is expected to be accretive for both sets of shareholders with run-rate synergies.
  • Compelling growth opportunities: Recently completed investments in new, low-cost capacity, particularly in potash, will improve the new company’s operating costs and position it well to respond to increases in demand. Continuing to grow the retail business will also be a priority, including roll-up opportunities, new store openings, and innovation in products and services to better serve growers. 
  • Strong balance sheet with significant cash flow generation: On a 2015 pro forma basis, inclusive of expected synergies, the new company would have had operating cash flow of over US$4 billion. With major capacity expansion projects essentially complete at each company, the new company’s low financial leverage, and significant cash flow generation, the combined company will have flexibility to return excess capital to shareholders and invest in growth initiatives, while also maintaining a strong investment grade credit rating profile. Both companies expect to maintain their existing dividend payments until the transaction is completed. Following the closing of the transaction, the new company will target a stable and growing dividend that reflects the strengthened cash flow profile of the combined company. Subject to market conditions and Board approval at the time of closing, the new company expects to establish a dividend payment equal to the current Agrium level, adjusted for the new share count.

infographic-sun-720Leadership and communities

The new company will be led by a proven team that reflects the strengths and capabilities of both companies. Upon closing of the transaction, Jochen Tilk will serve as Executive Chairman, and Chuck Magro will serve as Chief Executive Officer, both reporting to the new Board of Directors. Wayne Brownlee will serve as Chief Financial Officer, and Steve Douglas will serve as Chief Integration Officer. Additional senior leadership positions for the new company will be named at a later date. The new company’s Board of Directors will have equal representation. The Board’s independent Lead Director will be designated by Agrium.

In addition to leading the Board of Directors, the Executive Chairman will have executive responsibility for the new company’s business strategy function.

Following the closing of the transaction, the new company will have its registered head office in Saskatoon, with Canadian corporate offices in both Calgary and Saskatoon.

In addition to maintaining a strong workforce in each of its operations, the new company will maintain its commitments to community involvement and investment.

Canpotex

The new company will remain committed to Canpotex, the global logistics and marketing company that provides efficient and cost-effective distribution to many of the world’s fastest growing potash markets.

Tax Treatment

Canadian taxable resident shareholders will be able to elect such that they receive shares in the new company free of Canadian income taxes, and other shareholders will generally not be subject to Canadian income tax. It is expected that U.S. resident shareholders will generally receive shares in the new company on a tax-deferred basis for U.S. federal income tax ‎purposes.

Timing and approvals

The transaction will be implemented by way of a plan of arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act. It is expected to close during mid-2017, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals, Canadian court approval, and approval by the shareholders of both companies.

Advisors

Barclays Capital Inc. and CIBC Capital Markets are serving as financial advisors, and Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, and Latham & Watkins LLP are serving as legal advisors to Agrium.

BofA Merrill Lynch and RBC Capital Markets are serving as financial advisors, and Stikeman Elliott LLP and Jones Day are serving as legal advisors to PotashCorp.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is serving as joint financial advisor to Agrium and PotashCorp.

About Agrium

Agrium Inc. is a major global producer and distributor of agricultural products, services and solutions. Agrium produces nitrogen, potash and phosphate fertilizers, with a combined wholesale nutrient capacity of over nine million tonnes and with significant competitive advantages across our product lines. We supply key products and services directly to growers, including crop nutrients, crop protection, seed, as well as agronomic and application services, thereby helping growers to meet the ever growing global demand for food and fibre. Agrium retail-distribution has an unmatched network of over 1,400 facilities and over 3,800 crop consultants who provide advice and products to our grower customers to help them increase their yields and returns on hundreds of different crops. With a focus on sustainability, the company strives to improve the communities in which it operates through safety, education, environmental improvement and new technologies such as the development of precision agriculture and controlled release nutrient products. Agrium is focused on driving operational excellence across our businesses, pursuing value-enhancing growth opportunities and returning capital to shareholders. For more information visit: agrium.com

About PotashCorp

PotashCorp is the world’s largest crop nutrient company and plays an integral role in global food production. The company produces the three essential nutrients required to help farmers grow healthier, more abundant crops. With global population rising and diets improving in developing countries, these nutrients offer a responsible and practical solution to meeting the long-term demand for food. PotashCorp is the largest producer, by capacity, of potash and one of the largest producers of nitrogen and phosphate. While agriculture is its primary market, the company also produces products for animal nutrition and industrial uses. Common shares of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

Additional Information and Where to Find It

Additional information about Agrium and PotashCorp can be found under their respective corporate profiles on SEDAR at sedar.com or on EDGAR at sec.gov, respective websites at agrium.com and potashcorp.com.