Merger of PotashCorp., Agrium slowed by regulatory hurdles – by Ian Bickis (Toronto Star – September 8, 2017)

Canadian Press – CALGARY—The friendly merger of PotashCorp. and Agrium Inc. is now expected to close several months later than the previous target date due to concerns raised by regulatory bodies in four countries.

The two Canadian fertilizer producers say they have made progress on the approval process in all jurisdictions, but the deal likely won’t close until the end of the year, rather than midyear as originally expected.

When the deal was announced last September, it was estimated the combined company would have an enterprise value of $36 billion (U.S.) by joining PotashCorp’s extensive mining operations with Agrium’s mining and global retail network.

The scale of the combined company has led authorities in China and India to ask PotashCorp to sell off some of its investments, which include minority stakes in Sinofert — China’s largest potash producer — as well as in Israel Chemicals Limited, Chile-based SQM and Jordan-based Arab Potash Company.

“It’s a pretty complex process overall, and it is in multiple jurisdictions, so there’s just a lot of back and forth between the different agencies,” said PotashCorp spokesperson Bill Cooper on the delay.

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