Canada's small fertilizer companies shuffle ranks, search for capital

Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:39pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

Sept 16 (Reuters) - Capital-strapped small fertilizer companies in Canada are shuffling their senior executive ranks to draw investors in a period of weak prices.

Stonegate Agricom Ltd, which is developing a phosphate mine in Idaho, said on Tuesday that Chief Executive Mark Ashcroft resigned, the latest change at the top among small players in the sector. Others that have installed new senior executives this year include Canada's Arianne Phosphate and Karnalyte Resources Inc.

Fertilizer values are rising off the floor prices reached earlier this year, but their upside looks limited, Rabobank said in a report on Monday.

Stonegate's parting with its CEO was mutual, said co-chairman Ian McDonald, who will carry out CEO duties on an interim basis with co-chairman Kerry Knoll. He declined to give further details.

"Nobody's having any parties, because nobody's happy, but there's been no pressure here based on Mark's performance," McDonald said.

Stonegate shares dropped 3 Canadian cents, or about 19 percent, to 13 cents in Toronto. For the year, the stock is down nearly one-third.

Stonegate has tentatively arranged most of its financing for the low-capital, $120 million Paris Hills phosphate project, but has not yet lined up a committed, long-term buyer, a key condition.

Earlier this month, Arianne Phosphate, which is developing a mine in the Canadian province of Quebec, said that Brian Kenny, an engineer by trade, had resigned as CEO but would stay on as a consultant to cut capital and operating spending.   Continued...