Company News

UPDATE 1-Soleil sees potash prices set to skid

* Sees North American potash prices set to fall

* Agrium shares rise C$1.14 to C$46.28

TORONTO, July 17 (Reuters) - Soleil Securities said on Friday that potash prices were set to skid about 25 percent, noting that Agrium Inc AGU.TO said late on Thursday that it cut U.S. potash pricing.

Soleil analyst Mark Gulley said Agrium is dropping its U.S. list prices around 25 percent, in line with price cuts by Russia's Silvinit SILV.RTRS and Germany's K+S SDFG.DE.

“The Agrium price cut cuts deeper because Agrium is a member of Canpotex, along with Potash Corp and Mosaic,” Gulley, said in a note to clients.

A spokesman for Agrium told Reuters that the company had not issued any press release about a change in pricing, but that it had issued a new price list to its customers.

No further details were immediately available as the company stated that it does not distribute its price lists to the media.

Inventories of potash have risen steadily through the course of 2009, despite major production cuts, as farmers concerned by exorbitant pricing and hurt by the credit crunch have deferred application of the key crop nutrient.

On Thursday, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO, the world's largest potash producer, said North American potash inventories continued to rise in June and are currently 115 percent above the previous five-year average. [ID:nN16304206]

Sterne Agee analyst Mark Connelly said that although Agrium is one of the smaller North American potash producers, it stands to benefit twice over from lower prices as it controls one of the largest agricultural products distribution networks in North America.

“Agrium, as a major retailer of fertilizer, benefits twice when product gets moving, and these price reductions should help accomplish that,” Connelly said in a note to clients.

Agrium shares were up C$1.14 at C$46.28 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday afternoon.

$1=$1.12 Canadian Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Peter Galloway