Sask. Premier Brad Wall wants Nutrien merger held to commitments

WATCH ABOVE: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he is cautiously optimistic about Nutrien based on commitments made in meetings with the newly merged company.

Following the merger of two of the biggest fertilizer companies in Canada — PotashCorp and Agrium — Premier Brad Wall said the new company, Nutrien, will have some promises to keep to Saskatchewan.

“I just think the province needs to make sure they are on top of this file going forward,” Wall said.

READ MORE: Nutrien shares start trading on TSX and NYSE after Agrium, PotashCorp merger

Although Wall retires at the end of January, he said he remains “cautiously optimistic” about the newly announced merger.

“I think it’s important for whoever’s next in my position and for the government going forward to be vigilant and to monitor the situation and to make sure the commitments to the province are maintained,” Wall said.

One of those commitments is to have Nutrien’s registered head office located in Saskatoon. The new company will also have three other offices in Calgary, Colorado and Illinois.

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“Nutrien is even a more significant player, a more significant national champion for the country, and it will be headquartered in Saskatoon. That’ll be a good thing, but vigilance will be required,” said Wall.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that this is going to net new jobs for the province.”

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Other Nutrien commitments include:

  • Around 4,500 of Nutrien’s 20,000 employees worldwide will be located in the province.
  • Saskatchewan corporate office positions will increase by 15 per cent, to around 300.
  • The CEO and/or executive chair of Nutrien will live and work in the province.
  • Two new business functions will relocate to Saskatchewan.

The Saskatchewan NDP is raising concerns for the long-term viability of Nutrien’s commitments.

“That’s the whole concern, is we’re talking about this now but what about two years from now, five years from now when we’re not talking [about] this merger anymore? What is that going to mean for those jobs? We want to ensure that there is long-term commitment for long-term sustainability,” said Nicole Sarauer, the interim NDP leader.

Nutrien will now operate six potash mines in Saskatchewan.

READ MORE: Shares in Nutrien rise on 2nd day of trading after analysts publish high ratings

“We’ve got strong ties to the province and commitments and that will continue as Nutrien,” said Richard Downey, Nutrien’s vice-president of investor and corporate relations.

The company said it will take time to implement the commitments and expects to make progress by March.