UPDATE 1-Agrium says to restructure into two business units

Wed Jan 8, 2014 7:09pm EST

Jan 8 (Reuters) - Canadian fertilizer company Agrium Inc said on Wednesday it will restructure its three divisions into two business units, wholesale and retail, in the first quarter of 2014 as it moves to become more efficient.

Following a recently completed strategic review of its Agrium Advanced Technologies (AAT) business unit, Agrium said it decided to transfer AAT's agriculture business to the wholesale division.

The remaining parts of AAT, the turf and ornamental, and direct solutions businesses, will undergo further review, and could possibly be sold.

AAT was the smallest of Agrium's three divisions.

Agrium spokesman Richard Downey said the company had not yet determined how many jobs would be cut, but some business support functions based in Colorado "will disappear."

In November, Agrium, which is based in Calgary, Alberta, reported a sharply lower third-quarter profit and a disappointing forecast for the fourth quarter.

Uncertainty in fertilizer markets, combined with a late North America growing season, caused many buyers to delay purchases of crop nutrients.

Downey said the reorganization had nothing to do with pressure from activist investor Jana Partners. Jana, which at one point was Agrium's largest shareholder, pushed for a breakup of the company last year, and has since cut its stake in the company.

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