Agrium-UAP Merger Almost Final

Just one last piece of business and UAP will be officially part of Agrium Inc.

Agrium Inc. says its wholly-owned subsidiary, Agrium U.S. Inc., has completed its tender offer for UAP Holding Corp. Both Agrium Inc. and UAP are long-time CropLife 100 companies.

The completion of the tender offer is the first step in Agrium’s two-step $2.65 billion acquisition of UAP. The second and final step, the merger of UAP with an Agrium subsidiary, is expected to occur within the next several days.

Agrium is required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to sell five UAP farm stores in Michigan and two Agrium stores in Maryland and Virginia within 180 days of the acquisition to comply with antitrust issues. The FTC has placed this consent order in the Federal Register for a 30-day comment period ending June 4. The deal can be finalized during that time, and any adjustments to the consent order will be made after June 4.

Agrium Inc. also announced a record first quarter net earnings of $195 million (in U.S. dollars) in 2008, a significant improvement over the net loss of $11 million for the same period in 2007.

"Our impressive first quarter results are due to the excellent fundamentals for the fertilizer and broader agriculture sector, as well as to the quality of our assets that span the agriculture value chain. Our Retail, Wholesale and Advanced Technologies business units all delivered record first quarter earnings this year. We expect our earnings this spring to surpass all previous records, even without the contribution of the UAP retail operations," says Agrium President & CEO Mike Wilson.

Retail’s strong performance this quarter was due to improved gross margins for both crop nutrients and crop protection products. This is notable given that margins improved despite a slow start to the spring season across most of the eastern United States, according to the company.

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