Agrium CEO not aiming solely at job cuts to pare costs

Wed May 7, 2014 5:34pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

(Reuters) - Canadian fertilizer company Agrium Inc (AGU.TO: Quote) (AGU.N: Quote) is not looking to broadly cut costs and staffing levels, but its drive to become more efficient could lead to some job losses, Chief Executive Chuck Magro said.

As profits fall sharply, Agrium's peers Mosaic Co and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan have already announced major cuts to their respective workforces.

U.S.-based Mosaic Co (MOS.N: Quote) said on Tuesday that it will eliminate 550 to 560 jobs in the next year, part of a plan to slash $500 million in costs over five years.

Potash Corp said in December it would slash its workforce by 18 percent, or more than 1,000 jobs.

Magro, who assumed the top job at Agrium in January, said in an interview that the Calgary, Alberta-based company is not looking at broad-based job cuts as a way to cut expenses.

"I don't think you're going to see us come out with a program that says we're going to lay off 150 or 1,000 or whatever your number is, because we think we have to cut costs. That's not where we're heading," Magro said. "We're heading down a path of optimization and efficiency, more on the tune of continuous improvement more than anything."

Such a review could lead to some job losses, but is not different than what Agrium has always done, Magro said.

"You can't shrink yourself to success," he said.   Continued...