PotashCorp cuts won't affect Rocanville

POSTED: 2013-12-11 16:09:57

Potash Corp. is cutting its workforce by about 18 per cent, affecting 1,045 people, but the cuts will not directly affect PotashCorp Rocanville .

The Saskatoon-based company says the decision for the job cuts stems from soft demand for potash and phosphates, two major types of crop fertilizer.

"While these are steps we must take to run a sustainable business and protect the long-term interests of all our stakeholders, these decisions are never easy," PotashCorp chief executive Bill Doyle said.

The cuts come amid lower prices for potash.

The commodity and the companies that produce it have been hit hard this year after Russian-based Uralkali, one of the world's largest potash producers, quit the Belarusian Potash Company export partnership.

In expectation of lower prices on the world markets, China and India -- key markets for fertilizer -- delayed purchases, sending shipments plunging.

PotashCorp said buyer caution and competitive pressures pushed its average realized price for potash to $307 per tonne for the third quarter, down from $429 per tonne in the same period last year.

However, speculation that the European potash partnership may be renewed has increased in recent weeks following comments by Russian officials that Belarus will send home Vladislav Baumgertner, Uralkali's chief executive, whom it placed under house arrest and accused of harming the Belarusian economy.

The announcement came after former Russian presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov said he would buy 22 per cent of Uralkali from billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, who fell out with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

PotashCorp said Monday the biggest job cuts will be in its home province, where 440 people will be affected.

Most of those will be at its Lanigan division, where one of two mills will suspend production by the end of 2013, and its Cory division, where production will be reduced, and the Saskatoon headquarters.

The Saskatchewan government said it would help those affected find work in other sectors.

''We are fortunate that this has occurred at a time of relative labour market strength and that our economy today is more diversified than ever,'' Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said in a statement.

In addition to the cuts in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick will see 130 people out of a job, while the rest will be outside Canada, including more than 435 in the United States.

Florida will lose 350 jobs while another 85 people will be affected in North Carolina.

One of two phosphate plants in White Springs, Fla., and the Suwannee River chemical plant, will be closed. A loss of capacity at White Springs is expected to be partially offset by higher output at Aurora, N.C.

There will another 40 jobs affected in other parts of the United States and in Trinidad.

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