BHP CEO says ‘ship has sailed’ on potential acquisition of Canada’s Nutrien – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – October 18, 2023)

BHP Group Ltd. CEO Mike Henry is talking down the chances of acquiring Canadian fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd., as the world’s biggest mining company concentrates on building its own potash business instead. In 2010, the giant Australian miner attempted to buy Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Nutrien’s predecessor company, but the deal was blocked by the federal Conservative government as not being of net benefit to Canadians.

BHP held talks with Nutrien in 2021 around a possible joint venture on its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan. However, discussions between the two companies eventually fizzled. BHP elected instead to go it alone on the $7.5-billion project, the most expensive the company has ever undertaken.

With BHP making steady progress on construction of Jansen in the years since and first production expected in 2026, Mr. Henry indicated in an interview with The Globe and Mail that the industrial logic for a tie-up between BHP and Nutrien has faded away.

“There’s no kind of burning desire or need,” he said. “It’s very different than we were, way back when we were still facing a decision about whether we wanted to develop through an acquisition, or through developing our own resources. That ship has sailed.”

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