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PotashCorp buys 9.5%stake in Brazilian Co.

SASKATOON – Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT) has signed an agreement to buy a 9.5 per cent stake in Brazil-based Fertilizantes Heringer S.A. from controlling shareholders for US$55.7 million.

PotashCorp says the agreement, subject to regulatory approvals, paves the way for a long-term potash supply agreement that would allow it to become Heringer’s principal supplier.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2015.

“We see this agreement as an important step in enhancing our global growth strategy and one that provides flexibility for our expanding New Brunswick operations,” PotashCorp president and CEO Jochen Tilk said Monday in a statement on the company’s website.

Fertilizantes Heringer S.A. has been in the market for 46 years and is one of Brazil’s pioneers in the production, marketing and distribution of fertilizers.

As one of the largest fertilizer companies in Brazil, Heringer operates 21 production, marketing and distribution units, strategically located in the main consuming regions of the country.

The company delivered five million tonnes of fertilizers — including approximately one million tonnes of potash — in 2013, with net revenues of about US$2.5 billion.

Saputo buys Aussie cheese biz for $134.4M

MONTREAL – Saputo Inc. (TSX:SAP) has signed a deal to buy the everyday cheese business of Lion-Dairy & Drinks Pty Ltd. based in Victoria, Australia, for $134.4 million in cash.The purchase includes $104.1 million for inventory net of a minimal amou…

Some California farmers to go without federal water

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – For a second straight year, the federal government said Friday it won’t send any of its reservoir water to the Central Valley, forcing farmers in California’s agricultural heartland to again scramble for other sources or leave fiel…

ICE Futures Canada prices higher

WINNIPEG – ICE Futures Canada closing prices:Canola: March ’15 $6.30 higher $461.30; May ’15 $5.90 higher $469.30; July ’15 $6.30 higher $468.50; Nov ’15 $6.50 higher $458.60; Jan. ’16 $6.90 higher $460.70; March ’16 $7.40 higher $463.70; May ’16 $7.40…

CCA rodeo leaving Regina’s Agribition

REGINA – The Canadian Cowboys Association is pulling its rodeo out of the Canadian Western Agribition after this year.

The association is moving the finals to Swift Current in 2016.

Shylo Claypool, the association’s president, says it’s about dollars and cents.

He says being the feature act in Swift Current will give them a chance to expand the event.

Claypool says it will also allow them to have youth more involved, and they hope it will translate into more money coming in.

He says it was a tough decision, but while the ten-year relationship with Agribition has been a good one, change is also good.

Agribition CEO Marty Seymour says they were surprised by the decision.

Seymour says rodeo is one of Agribition’s signature events, so there will still be rodeo at the show.

“There’s been lots of interest now that the word is out — people contacting us wanting to fill that space with some type of rodeo-type activity.”


Oahu coffee farm quarantine broadened by state

HONOLULU – The state has quarantined Oahu coffee farms to gain a better handle on an invasive pest.The state Board of Agriculture voted unanimously Tuesday to implement the quarantine targeting the coffee berry borer, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http…

ICE Futures Canada prices mostly higher

WINNIPEG – ICE Futures Canada closing prices:Canola: March ’15 $3.50 lower $455.00; May ’15 $0.60 higher $463.40; July ’15 $4.00 higher $462.20; Nov ’15 $5.50 higher $452.10; Jan. ’16 $5.60 higher $453.80; March ’16 $5.60 higher $456.30; May ’16 $6.40 …

Maple Leaf Foods doubles dividend, posts loss

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX:MFI) doubled its quarterly dividend Thursday as the company said it expects its business to recover in 2015 following a year of changes that ended with a loss in its fourth quarter.

The company, which produces Maple Leaf and Schneiders prepared meats, as well as fresh pork and poultry, said it will now pay a quarterly dividend of eight cents per share.

The doubling in of the dividend came as the company reported a loss of $28.2 million or 20 cents per share for the last three months of 2014. That compared with a profit of $511.4 million of $3.58 per share a year ago, before the company sold its holdings in Canada Bread.

Sales for the quarter totalled $794 million, up from $748.3 million a year earlier.

Maple Leaf reported a loss from continuing operations of $23 million or 16 cents per diluted share for its latest quarter compared with a loss of $47.9 million or 34 cents per diluted share in the last three months of 2013.

Michael H. McCain, Maple Leaf’s president and CEO, said the company has largely completed a rebuilding of the company that began in 2007 — a process that included the sale of its majority stake in Canada Bread to Grupo Bimbo as well as closures of old plants, construction of new plants and other improvements.

“We will be closing our largest legacy plant in Kitchener this week, leaving only one remaining facility in Toronto to close,” McCain said Thursday.

“Our margins have been structurally reset over the year, and while volume continued to be weak in the fourth quarter, we expect it to recover in 2015 as the fundamental environment continues to improve. We are confident that we will deliver our strategic targets in 2015.”

For the full year, Maple Leaf earned $711.9 million or $5.03 per diluted share, boosted by the sale of Canada Bread. That compared with a profit of $512.2 million or $3.55 per diluted share in 2013. Sales totalled $3.16 billion in 2014, up from $2.95 billion a year earlier.

Maple Leaf reported a loss from continuing operations of $213.8 million or $1.51 per diluted share for 2014 compared with a loss of $141.4 million or $1.01 per diluted share in 2013.

ICE Futures Canada prices lower

WINNIPEG – ICE Futures Canada closing prices:Canola: March ’15 $14.30 lower $458.50; May ’15 $6.90 lower $462.80; July ’15 $6.00 lower $458.20; Nov ’15 $5.20 lower $446.60; Jan. ’16 $5.20 lower $448.20; March ’16 $5.20 lower $450.70; May ’16 $5.20 lowe…