K+S Combines Potash and Salt Businesses

11.10.2017 -

German fertilizer group K+S plans to combine its potash and salt business as it seeks to achieve annual operational savings of €150 million and EBITDA of €3 million by 2030.

The company said its “Shaping 2030” strategy will reposition a manufacturing-driven company as a market-focused, customer-focused enterprise with an emphasis on realizing synergies. “Shaping 2030” offers maximum value creation potential paired with great robustness,” said Burkhard Lohr, chairman of the board of executive directors.

The Kassel-based company said it expects a positive effect on its earnings of at least €150m annually by the end of 2020, which will return the company to being free cash flow positive by 2019. The move will also cut net debt in half by 2020. In addition, K+S wants to regain an investment grade rating in 2023.

The strategy will be executed in two phases. The first phase through 2020 will see the company align its four market segments of agriculture, industry, consumers and communities, which it said will help it to better address and connect with customers. K+S’ portfolio will be broadened with a focus on high-margin products.

In a second phase, the company aims to increase operating earnings and reduce its dependency on external factors, such as weather and global potash prices, which have been pressured by ongoing oversupply.

K+S will also expand its specialty businesses and advance its presence in high-growth regions such as Africa and Asia.

Reuters news agency said analysts had been hoping for more far-reaching changes - for example a shutdown of uncompetitive mines in Germany or a possible stock market listing of the salt unit. However, a person familiar with the company's thinking told Reuters that the Kassel-based firm would not float its salt activities.