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PCS Nitrogen to cut staff

Thursday, December 5, 2013
Demand for fertiliser slows...
PotashCorp President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Doyle

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc (PotashCorp), the Canadian parent company of Point Lisas-based PCS Nitrogen, has announced that it is taking the “difficult but necessary step” to reduce its workforce in Canada, the United States and T&T by approximately 18 per cent. 



A statement from the company said: “We expect workforce reductions by region as follows: Saskatchewan—approximately 440 people; New Brunswick—approximately 130 people; Florida— approximately 350 people; North Carolina—approximately 85 people; other US locations and Trinidad –  approximately 40 people.” The company said “despite confidence in the long-term drivers” of its business, a “significant portion of fertilizer demand comes from developing markets where growth has been less robust than expected”. 



“This sluggish environment has been most visible in our potash and phosphate businesses, and has contributed to challenging market conditions. As a consequence, we must make some difficult decisions today to ensure the company continues to be well positioned for the future.”


Following a comprehensive review of business and operational needs, PotashCorp said it identified necessary changes to: respond to market conditions; reduce costs to enhance the global competitive position of the company; and maintain operational flexibility in potash to meet anticipated future demand growth.


“The changes are intended to optimise our lowest-cost operations, while retaining the ability to respond to expected demand levels and product needs of our customers. All three business operating segments (nitrogen, phosphate and potash), as well as corporate services, will be impacted by these reductions,” the statement said.


“This is a difficult day for our employees and our company,” said PotashCorp President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Doyle. “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. We understand the impact is not only on our people, but also in the communities where we work and live, and PotashCorp will work hard to help those affected through this challenging time.”


The company said it is reducing its permanent potash workforce by “approximately 570 people.” The majority of these positions will be at the company's Lanigan and Cory facilities in Saskatchewan, as well as its New Brunswick operation. Its Patience Lake, SK facility and Saskatoon Corporate Headquarters will also be affected, the statement said. The company said it also plans to implement some operating changes, suspending production at one mill, reducing production at another facility and ceasing production at another. 


The statement said: “We will be reducing our workforce at our US and Trinidad nitrogen facilities by approximately 20 permanent people. We do not anticipate any change to our operational capability.” The majority of changes are anticipated to be completed this year, although certain positions at impacted operations are expected to remain in place through a transitional period, the company said. Where feasible, affected employees will be offered voluntary severance packages prior to any involuntary reductions. 


“Additionally, we are committed to providing assistance to all our employees in their transition to new opportunities. Severance and assistance programmes are expected to exceed those that are typically provided in similar situations,” the company said.


Doyle said: “We work in a remarkable and critically important industry—one with a proud history and a bright future. While these are difficult decisions, we know that they help ensure our company remains positioned for the future and able to grow long-term value for those who depend on our sustainability and success.”


PotashCorp is the world’s largest crop nutrient company and plays an integral role in global food production. The company produces the three essential nutrients required to help farmers grow healthier, more abundant crops. PotashCorp is the largest producer, by capacity, of potash and third largest producer of nitrogen and phosphate. While agriculture is its primary market, the company also produces products for animal nutrition and industrial uses. 


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