Potash Asked by Saskatchewan Premier to Reconsider Job Cuts

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s largest fertilizer company, should consider mitigating the job cuts it announced this week, said the premier of the Canadian province where the company is based.

Brad Wall said he was disappointed in the company’s plans to cut its global workforce by 18 percent in a letter dated yesterday that was posted on Potash Corp.’s website. In a letter dated today and also published on the website, Potash Corp. Chairman Dallas J. Howe said the “difficult” decision was necessary in light of current global potash demand.

“This can only mean that the interests of shareholders were protected while the interests of employees here in Saskatchewan and elsewhere were sacrificed,” Wall said, citing a comment attributed to Chief Executive Officer Bill Doyle that the company’s dividend remained “sacrosanct,”

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp. said Dec. 3 it would cut its workforce by 1,045 to reduce potash capacity amid weaker-than-expected fertilizer demand. About half the cuts will come in the company’s potash operations, which are centered in Saskatchewan, according to a statement from the company.

“I am asking you and your board to revisit Potash Corp.’s dividend policy” and the company’s decision to cut jobs, the premier said in his letter. He urged the company to consider mitigating the number of cuts.

Potash Corp., which also produces fertilizer made from nitrogen and phosphates, fell 1.5 percent to C$33.87 in Toronto. The shares have fallen 16 percent this year.

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