The Canadian major reported Q2 net earnings of $741m, overshadowing its Q1 net loss of $1m, and supporting Nutrien’s plans to “build a new company that is stronger and better equipped”.
Formed by the combination of muriate of potash (MOP) fertilizer producers PotashCorp (PCS) and Agrium, Nutrien began operations on 1 January with a total of 20,000 employees – 4,500 based in Canada’s Saskatchewan province.
Now the world’s single-largest provider of crop nutrients, Nutrien’s assets include 22m tonnes/year of MOP capacity in Canada alone – the largest volume globally – while Agrium’s contribution makes the firm the world’s third-largest nitrogen fertilizer producer, with sales of nearly 11m tonnes of product annually.
However, despite this apparent strength, Nutrien’s Q1 results left much to be desired, as the challenges of administering such an immense enterprise led to a somewhat mixed first few months.
At the time, CEO Chuck Magro attributed the loss to a vague grab-bag of issues, saying: “Nutrien’s first quarter was affected by a late start to the spring season across North America, and west coast rail performance issues.”
These rail issues were subsequently resolved after a short-lived strike.
The $741m second-quarter return demonstrates “the value of our integrated business model and extensive supply chain capabilities, in what was a very compressed spring application season,” Magro said..
“We also advanced our strategic plan, making significant progress on selling the remaining equity investments, repurchasing our shares and growing our Retail business,” he added.