Agrium sells U.S. plants to ease merger with PotashCorp

WINNIPEG (Reuters) — Agrium will sell its Idaho phosphate production facility for $100 million to fertilizer company Itafos to address concerns of U.S. regulators about its merger with PotashCorp.

It will also sell its nitric acid plant in North Bend, Ohio, to a subsidiary of Trammo Inc. for an undisclosed price.

The combination of Agrium and PotashCorp is expected to close by the end of the year and requires U.S. approval. Agrium did not specify what concerns U.S. regulators have, but PotashCorp is al-ready one of the biggest U.S. phosphate producers.

China’s commerce ministry said it has approved the merger on the condition that PotashCorp divest certain stakes in other companies.

Under the deal, Itafos gets Agrium’s phosphate production plant in Conda, Idaho, and adjacent mineral rights. The deal includes an agreement for Agrium to supply ammonia to the Conda facility and buy the monoammonium phosphate it produces.

Agrium said it will take a $178 million impairment charge on the Conda sale and retain its historic environmental obligations.

Agrium’s sales to both Itafos and Trammo are subject to approval by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the company said.

The merger combines PotashCorp’s fertilizer production capacity, the world’s largest, with Agrium’s network of farm supply stores, the biggest in the United States.


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