Farmers do not have to be too worried that the giant merger of Agrium and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan will cause a steep uptick in the prize of fertilizer too soon. According to Todd Lewis, President of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), the merger is “a hard one to find a whole bunch of negatives or positives about it. A year from now it might be a different story”.
Initiated in 2016, the merger of the two Canadian companies to form Nutrien was given the official blessing of regulators at the end of December. Nutrient was officially created on 1 January after it had been given clearance from Canada, India, China as well as the United States. Dan Mazier, president of the Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) shared Mr. Lewis’ sentiment, saying that if at the end of the day it makes the firms stronger it is good for Canada as a whole. “I understand that they don’t plan on shutting down any mines or shutting down any nitrogen manufacturers, it’s actually letting Sask (Saskatchewan) potash into the network of Agrium and vice versa. So probably at the end of the day it’ll be a much more robust company,” he said.
Before the companies merged, there had been an expectation of an annual operation synergy of as much as US$500 million from the deal. Nutrien has now become Canada’s third biggest natural resource company worth about US$36 billion. Mr. Mazier is, however, concerned that the new company could have a negative impact on independent retailers who market Nutrien’s products. Nutrien has its own retail department, Crop Production Services, which was previously part of Agrium. “It’s more where people get their supplies from and if this is actually cutting out retailers or cutting out where people (get the) products (from) … I’m still thinking the Canadian way though … if I’m going to support anything we definitely support the Canadian companies,” Mr. Mazier explained.