PotashCorp, Agrium merger on track, but will require asset sales, companies say
The two fertilizer companies now expect the major tie-up to close in the fourth quarter of this year as government regulators weigh in
SASKATOON—Canadian fertilizer heavyweights Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. say their planned merger is progressing, but still requires the go-ahead from competition watchdogs in a number of countries.
Disclosed about a year ago, the tie-up will create a fertilizer firm worth about $35 billion and employ some 18,000 workers across 18 countries. Both companies’ shareholders approved the deal last fall and the Saskatoon- and Calgary-headquartered firms had hoped to close the merger by mid-2017.
That timeline has now been pushed to the end of the fourth quarter, though PotashCorp and Agrium said they remain “highly confident” the deal will come to fruition.
The companies said they are working to resolve “final issues” with their superphosphoric acid and nitric acid businesses with the Canadian Competition Bureau and the U.S.’s Federal Trade Commission. In Asia, meanwhile, competition watchdogs in China and India have told the firms they plan to approve the merger, but will require the new company to divest certain minority interests in overseas projects currently held by PotashCorp.
The companies did not disclose the specific assets, but said the divestments are not expected to impact the $500 million in annual operating synergies they have said the merger will create.
The combined company will be known as Nutrien.