Agrium Acquires Starpharma Holdings' Agrochemical Business

Agrium Inc .'s AGU subsidiary, Loveland Products, Inc. has announced the completion of the acquisition of Starpharma Holdings Limited's agrochemical business for $35 million. The acquired business is focused on developing its proprietary Priostar dendrimer polymer technology portfolio.

The transaction includes assets such as key intellectual property and a small number of dedicated staff based in Melbourne, Australia which will support Agrium's innovation and technology strategy.

With this acquisition, Priostar dendrimer polymer technology's continued development and commercialization will take place across a broad base of Loveland Products' crop protection and specialty nutrition products. The acquisition will improve product performance and further enhance Agrium Retail's full solutions offering to farmers.

The Priostar technology will provide a host of benefits. It provides better weed control capabilities, formulation stability and reduced environmental impacts. Agrium is well placed to commercialize this technology across 1,500 ag-retail centers, which caters to numerous growers in key agricultural markets globally.

Agrium has outperformed the Zacks categorized Fertilizers industry over the last one year. The company's shares have moved up around 1.8% over this period, compared with roughly 0.4% gain recorded by the industry.

Agrium provided its earnings guidance for the first half of 2017 in the range of $3.75-$4.25 per share. The outlook for annual earnings was also narrowed to the range of $4.75-$5.75 per share from previous expectations of $4.50-$6.00, owing to about $200 million variability in EBITDA. Agrium's expects potash production between 2.4 million and 2.8 million tons in 2017.

Agrium is likely to benefit from strategic acquisitions, capacity expansion and cost reduction actions. The proposed merger with Potash Corp. should also create significant cost and operational synergies.

However, Agrium is still reeling under the effects of the depressed prices of crop nutrients which is expected to continue to weigh on its sales and earnings. Nitrogen and potash prices also remain under pressure. The crop pricing environment is also expected to remain soft in the near term. The company also faces challenging agriculture market fundamentals.

Agrium Inc. Price and Consensus

Agrium Inc. Price and Consensus | Agrium Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Agrium currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some top-ranked companies in the basic material space include BASF SE BASFY , The Chemours Company CC and Kronos Worldwide Inc KRO . All the three stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

BASF has expected long-term growth of 8.9%.

Chemours has expected long-term growth of 15.5%.

Kronos has expected long-term growth of 5%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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