Agrium reports record fourth quarter and annual results

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Release Date: 2/8/2012

ALL AMOUNTS ARE STATED IN U.S.$

CALGARY, Alberta -- Agrium Inc. (TSX and NYSE: AGU) announced today consolidated net earnings (“net earnings”) from continuing operations of $327-million ($2.04 diluted earnings per share) for the fourth quarter of 2011.  The 2011 fourth quarter results included a $61-million ($0.30 diluted earnings per share1) charge resulting from the impairment of Agrium’s investment in Hanfeng Evergreen Inc. (“Hanfeng”).  Excluding this charge, net earnings from continuing operations would have been $374-million ($2.34 diluted earnings per share).  Net earnings were $193-million ($1.20 diluted earnings per share) for the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with the net earnings of $135-million in the fourth quarter of 2010 ($0.86 diluted earnings per share).

On an annual basis, 2011 net earnings from continuing operations were $1.5-billion ($9.52 diluted earnings per share), compared to $730-million ($4.62 diluted earnings per share) in 2010.  2011 net earnings were $1.4-billion ($8.68 diluted earnings per share) as compared to $713-million ($4.51 diluted earnings per share) in 2010.

“I am very pleased to report that Agrium delivered record results for both the fourth quarter and the year.  Our earnings from continuing operations were more than double last year’s level and we generated over $1 billion in cash this quarter.  These impressive results were achieved despite global economic uncertainties that impacted commodity prices and led to buyer uncertainty in the later part of the year.  We believe that the underlying fundamentals for the agriculture sector remain strong as crop inventory levels for most crops remain well below normal levels and in some cases are critically low,” said Mike Wilson, Agrium President and CEO. 

“As the spring planting season approaches, farmers have a strong incentive to plant record acreage and optimize the use of Agrium’s full array of crop input products and services to maximize crop production.  Agrium is well positioned to continue to meet farmers’ needs in 2012 and looks forward to delivering another year of value for its stakeholders,” added Mr. Wilson.

Losses recorded from discontinued operations of $134-million in the 2011 fourth quarter included an inventory write-off of $85-million ($0.54 diluted earnings per share) related to an insurance claim currently in dispute regarding misappropriated soybean inventory associated with AWB’s Commodity Management business and a charge of $37-million ($0.23 diluted earnings per share) arising from the net impact of guarantees for letters of credit in AWB’s investment in Hi-Fert Pty. Ltd. (“Hi-Fert”). We are aggressively pursuing claims against both of these losses and future recoveries will be recorded when assessed as virtually certain. 

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