Canadian fertilizer and farm dealer Nutrien Ltd will continue its existing business strategy, including a focus on supporting global potash prices over maximizing sales, new Chief Executive Mayo Schmidt said on Tuesday.
Surging prices of corn, soybeans and canola have given North American farmers more incentive to spend on fertilizer, lifting profits for Nutrien. Even so, Canada’s biggest agriculture company hired Schmidt as CEO last month to replace Chuck Magro, who resigned.
“When we think about potash, we’re certainly focused on price over supply,” Schmidt said in his first conference call with analysts since taking the top job in April.
Schmidt added that the company sees steady potash demand growth for the next decade.
Schmidt, who was previously Nutrien’s chairman, also said the company is stronger by keeping together its wholesale fertilizer production business and its farm retail network.
In changing CEOs, Nutrien’s board of directors wants to see better execution of its existing strategy under a fresh set of eyes, Schmidt said, listing areas of focus such as logistics and transportation.
Nutrien’s farm retail stores, which sell fertilizer, seed and chemicals to farmers, make up the largest U.S. network. Schmidt said the company would look to expand its retail operation in Brazil.
The company expects U.S. plantings of corn and soybeans to exceed U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates by 2 million acres each this year, but Schmidt said prices look to remain strong throughout the year.
The world’s biggest fertilizer producer by capacity raised its full-year profit guidance and swung to a bigger than expected quarterly profit on Monday.
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