Population growth means potash growth
Unfortunately for BHP, the Canadian government—which must authorize takeovers valued at $ 299 million and above—blocked the deal, citing “a lack of net benefits to Canada”. But the story certainly isn’t over, because potash fertilizer is becoming an increasingly high-stakes industry as the world’s human population pushes seven billion.
Analysts expect global demand for potash to grow by about 5 percent a year, because potash—a naturally-occurring compound containing the alkali metal potassium—is vital to the world’s agricultural industries, which must constantly increase yields to feed a human population currently growing at approximately 75 million per year.
The world’s primary potash deposits are found in the ancient sea beds of Canada, Russia and Belarus, but there are potash projects to be found around the world. Here’s a look at some major potash producers.
Calgary-based Agrium Inc. (TSE: AGU) shares are currently $ 82.54, with a 52-week range of $ 51.39 to $ 91.25. Agrium stock is currently off its high because of the general decline that followed the failure of the BHP Potash Corp bid, as well as Agrium’s acquisition of AWB Limited, which will be completed on December 3.
On the heels of BHP Billiton’s thwarted takeover bid, Regina-based Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX: POT) announced a US$ 2 billion share buyback program last week. Shares are currently $ 145.50 with a 52-week range of $ 88.68 to $ 160.65 (its high during the Potash bid.)
Earlier this week Brazil-based Amazon Mining Holding Plc. (TSX: AMZ), released promising early test results from its exploratory drilling at its Apatita Phosphate project, next door to its Cerrado Verde Potash mine in Brazil. More drilling has been ordered to complete the testing. Amazon stock is currently $ 3.85 a share with a 52-week range of $ 0.93 to $ 4.19.
German firm K+S AG (DAX: XETRA) is the biggest potash producer in Europe, and is currently seeking to expand its operations via partnerships or takeovers as its current mines are nearing their production capacities. Shares are currently EUR51.99 with a 52-week range of EUR35.55 to 53.20.
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