Agrium to buy U.S. micronutrient maker

Fertilizer and ag retail giant Agrium plans to buy a Nebraska company making zinc sulphate and other granular and liquid nutrients for the fertilizer and livestock feed markets.

Calgary-based Agrium said Thursday it plans to buy Tetra Micronutrients, based at Fairbury, Neb., about 110 km southwest of Lincoln, and close the deal by mid-July.

The company’s fertilizer products include dry forms of zinc, manganese and boron, as well as liquid zinc, manganese, iron and boron, plus combination liquids Pro-Bean Mix and Pro-Corn Mix. It also makes three varieties of trace mineral premix with zinc sulphate for the feed market.

Financial details of the deal weren’t disclosed in Agrium’s release Thursday, other than that the acquisition “was made at a multiple similar to other recent retail acquisitions in North America.”

Agrium said it will integrate the Tetra business into its Agrium Advanced Technologies (AAT) wing, the maker of polymer-coated nitrogen fertilizer ESN, and into Loveland Products, a Colorado-based crop input distributor.

AAT will operate and market product from the dry granular production facility, and market Tetra’s liquid plant nutrition products to “third-party” customers, Agrium said.

Loveland Products, meanwhile, will operate the liquid facility and market the liquid plant nutrition products to customers of Agrium’s retail operations.

Agrium CEO Mike Wilson called the Tetra deal “a strong strategic fit” that offers “significant synergy potential.”

Tetra has annual sales revenue of about US$24 million in liquid nutrients and about US$40 million in dry products, Agrium said.

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