|By Marketwire .||
|March 22, 2013 10:05 AM EDT||
CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/22/13 --
ALL AMOUNTS ARE STATED IN U.S.$
Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) (NYSE:AGU) today set the record straight on information published yesterday by JANA:
-- JANA continues to promote the "portfolio-weighted composite" that is not used by any of the 29 equity research analysts that cover Agrium. Agrium has maintained from the very beginning that JANA's "portfolio-weighted composite" is not a measure of performance that Agrium uses or accepts. Presentation of this concept by Agrium was simply to illustrate the misinformation in what JANA was advocating. -- When UAP was public, UAP had virtually no correlation with any of the distribution company composites. None of the equity research analysts that cover Agrium consider expected movements in the profit of these distribution companies to have any relevance for expected movements in agricultural retail profitability. -- JANA cannot claim credit for Agrium's share price gains over the last year. This is an empty claim that ignores the fact that Agrium has reported record earnings in each of the past two years. -- The facts are clear: Agrium's Board began increasing the company's dividend in 2011, long before JANA engaged Agrium, in line with increased earnings and cash flow and consistent with the actions of Agrium's competitors. Likewise, Agrium, not JANA, structured its pending acquisition of the Agri Products business from Glencore, allowing Agrium to return C$900 million of excess proceeds directly to shareholders through a share repurchase. -- Agrium achieves retail margins (EBITDA/Revenue) 50% higher than ag retail competitors, including UAP before we acquired it. Our Retail operating ratio (operating cost/gross profit) is in line with public distribution companies. Agrium has never referred to EBIT/GP; this is used solely by JANA and is not a measure of margins. -- JANA devotes 12 slides to defending its "golden leash" payment scheme but fails to cite a single independent source, expert or authority defending their scheme. By contrast, a broad spectrum of independent experts have condemned JANA's pay scheme as a source of conflicts, disproportionate pay and short-term incentives.
Most importantly, JANA once again has not provided any analysis to support how its break-up plan or other ideas could create shareholder value.
"We are gratified by the strong level of support we have received from our shareholders as we look forward to the results of the annual meeting on April 9, 2013," said Agrium Board Chair Victor J. Zaleschuk.
Agrium Shareholders: The Proxy to Vote is WHITE
Your vote is important, no matter how many shares you own - If you have not yet voted your WHITE proxy, please do so today FOR the election of the Agrium director nominees. Even if you have already voted using JANA's blue proxy, you can change your vote by submitting a WHITE Agrium proxy now, which will revoke any previously submitted proxy and be counted at the Meeting.
Proxies must be received by 11:00 a.m. (Calgary time) on April 5, 2013. Due to the limited time available, we recommend voting by internet, telephone or fax today or no later than 24 hours before the deadline. For ease of voting visit our website www.agrium.com/proxy.
Shareholders with questions or needing assistance in voting their WHITE proxy may call Agrium's Proxy Solicitation Agents as follows:
-- Canadian shareholders: CST Phoenix Advisors at 1-866-822-1242 (toll- free) or email email@example.com -- U.S. shareholders: Innisfree M&A Incorporated at 1-877-456-3442 (toll- free) or email firstname.lastname@example.org -- European shareholders: UK Toll Free: 0800 294 5237, European Investors outside the UK: +44 (0) 207 760 8956 or email email@example.com
Please discard any proxy or related materials you may receive from Jana Partners LLC.
Agrium Inc. is a major Retail supplier of agricultural products and services in North America, South America and Australia and a leading global Wholesale producer and marketer of all three major agricultural nutrients and the premier supplier of specialty fertilizers in North America through our Advanced Technologies business unit. Agrium's strategy is to provide the crop inputs and services needed to feed a growing world. We focus on maximizing shareholder returns by driving continuous improvements to our base businesses, pursuing value-added growth opportunities across the crop input value chain and returning capital to shareholders.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
-- Canadian shareholders: CST Phoenix Advisors at 1-866-822-1242 (toll- free) or email firstname.lastname@example.org -- U.S. shareholders: Innisfree at 1-877-456-3442 (toll-free) or email email@example.com -- European shareholders: UK Toll Free: 0800 294 5237, European Investors outside the UK: +44 (0) 207 760 8956 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Canadian media - Joel Shaffer, Longview Communications, (416) 649-8006
U.S. media - Robert Siegfried, Kekst and Company, (212) 521-4832
Forward-looking Statements Advisory
Certain statements and other information included in this news release constitute "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation or constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable U.S. securities legislation (collectively, "forward-looking statements"). Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the words "believe", "expect", "estimate", "would" and other similar expressions. All statements in this press release other than those relating to historical information or current conditions are forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements as to management's expectations, estimates and analysis with respect to: the composition of our Board of Directors; JANA's dissident nominees and their ability to think and act independently; the ability of certain director nominees to effect positive change; the impact of various multiples and assumptions on the value of our existing business and the businesses of certain of our peers; the value, benefits, efficiencies and opportunities resulting from our strategy and the integrated nature of our business; and the feasibility, value and impact of JANA's ideas and strategies for Agrium and our belief that these ideas and strategies are not in the best interests of Agrium and its shareholders and will destroy shareholder value. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements which involve known and unknown material risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements included in this news release are based on certain assumptions and analysis made by us in light of our experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments as well as other factors we believe are appropriate in the circumstances. All of the forward-looking statements are qualified by the assumptions that are stated or inherent in such forward-looking statements. The key assumptions that have been made in connection with such forward-looking statements include, among other things: assumptions with respect to Agrium's acquisitions; that future business, regulatory and industry conditions will be within normal parameters, including with respect to prices, margins, product availability and supplier agreements; the completion of projects on schedule, as planned and on budget; assumptions with respect to U.S. and global economic conditions; our ability to access our credit facilities or capital markets for additional sources of financing; and the assumptions set forth under the heading "Key Assumptions and Risks in Respect of Forward-Looking Statements" on pages 82 to 83 of Agrium's Management's Discussion & Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2012 (the "2012 MD&A").
By their nature, forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties which could cause Agrium's anticipated results and experience to differ materially from the anticipated results or expectations expressed. The key risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: general economic, market and business conditions; weather conditions including impacts from regional flooding and/or drought conditions; crop prices; the supply and demand and price levels for our major products; governmental and regulatory requirements and actions by governmental authorities, including changes in government policy, government ownership requirements, changes in environmental, tax, anti-trust and other laws or regulations and the interpretation thereof, and political risks, including civil unrest, actions by armed groups or conflict, as well as counterparty and sovereign risk; actions by competitors and others that include changes to industry capacity, utilization rates and product pricing; performance by customers, suppliers and counterparties to financial instruments; changes in the development plans for our major capital expansion and improvement projects including the potential for higher costs, delays, issues with counterparties, risks associated with technology or inflationary pressure; fluctuations in foreign exchange and tax rates; a deterioration in the state of the capital markets or a negative bias towards Agrium or its industry by market participants; gas prices and gas availability; operating risks associated with investment in foreign jurisdictions; reliability of performance of existing capital assets; changes in margins and/or levels of supplier rebates; political risks associated with our interests in the Egyptian Misr Fertilizers Production Company S.A.E. nitrogen facility in Egypt, the Argentine Profertil nitrogen facilities and other facilities; environmental, health, safety and security risks typical of those found throughout the agriculture, mining and chemical manufacturing sectors and fertilizer supply chain; risks related to our proposed business acquisitions including risks related to our ability to close such acquisitions as anticipated and to integrate and achieve synergies from any assets we may acquire within the time or at the performance level expected; and the risks set forth in the 2012 MD&A on pages 74 to 77 under the heading "Enterprise Risk Management - Key Business Risks" and pages 82 to 83 under the heading "Key Assumptions and Risks in Respect of Forward-Looking Statements". Additional information and other risk factors respecting the business and operations of Agrium as are detailed from time to time in Agrium reports filed with the Canadian securities regulators and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States.
Agrium disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements in this news release as a result of new information or future events, except as may be required under applicable U.S. federal securities laws or applicable Canadian securities legislation.
Vice President, Investor/Corporate Relations
Director, Investor Relations
Analyst, Investor Relations
13131 Lake Fraser Dr. SE
Canada T2J 7E8