Potash, Agrium merger moves toward final hurdles – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – October 23, 2017)

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More than a year in the making, the merger of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. looks to be inching to completion.

India – one of several countries with a say in the tie-up of two Canadian-based fertilizer producers – gave its blessing last week, on the condition some minority international interests are put on the block.

The country’s competition regulator agreed to the deal providing Potash sells its stakes in Arab Potash Co., Israel Chemicals Ltd. and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA within 18 months. The companies can close their deal before divesting the assets, which are estimated to be worth more than $5-billion (U.S.).

That’s a key step, but not the last one before the companies merge to create Nutrien, a manufacturing, wholesale and retail business with an enterprise value of $36-billion.

Still needed are approvals from China and the United States. China is believed to be insisting on the divestiture of just one of the global interests, so India’s insistence on the three bodes well for a quick approval decision, said John Chu, an analyst at Laurentian Bank Securities.

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