MBAC Fertilizer picks new CEO, stock jumps 11 pct

Mon Jan 6, 2014 11:06am EST
 
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By Rod Nickel

Jan 6 (Reuters) - MBAC Fertilizer Corp on Monday said that it had picked a new chief executive, pushing its stock up nearly 11 percent.

MBAC, which last year began production of phosphate fertilizer at its Itafos facility in central Brazil, appointed Cristiano Melcher as president and CEO effective Feb. 1. The current CEO, Antenor Silva, will step down from that position and remain a director, MBAC said in a release.

The main task ahead for MBAC, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is ramping up production and sales at its Itafos phosphate mine and plant, said analyst Spencer Churchill of Paradigm Capital.

Melcher was previously CEO of Fosbrasil, a South American producer of purified phosphoric acid, and before that executive director of Copebras, a Brazilian phosphate producer owned by Anglo American PLC.

"He's got more of a diversified background than perhaps (the current CEO) had," Churchill said, adding that the new chief executive would probably improve communication with investors.

"This guy coming in just shows the company is committed to righting the ship following some of the execution issues we saw last year at Itafos."

MBAC's previous chief operating officer, Roberto Busato Belger, left the company in November.

MBAC shares jumped as much as 10.6 percent, or 16 Canadian cents, to a seven-week high of C$1.67 in early trading in Toronto. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Stephen Powell)