Potash Corp, Agrium win final approval to merge, forming Nutrien

WASHINGTON/CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc POT.TO and Agrium Inc AGU.TO have received final regulatory clearance to merge, forming a new company to be known as Nutrien, the two firms said on Wednesday.

The two Canadian fertilizer and chemical companies agreed to divest two of Agrium’s U.S. production facilities to ensure merger approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

PotashCorp and Agrium agreed in a settlement with the FTC to divest one facility to Itafos IFOS.V and another to Trammo Inc, the FTC said.

The merger of two Canadian companies required U.S. regulatory approval because Nutrien will control the majority of North America’s potash capacity as well as a large farm retail business.

The deal is now expected to close on Jan. 1, 2018, and Nutrien will start trading on Jan. 2 on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol NTR.

“This final clearance marks a significant milestone in bringing two industry leaders together,” said Chuck Magro, president and chief executive of Agrium.

Magro will lead Nutrien as CEO and has said the company plans to expand its U.S. farm supply network and return cash to shareholders.

Reporting by Tim Ahmann and Nia Williams in Calgary; Editing by Tom Brown