Agrium Inc. (AGU) has been one of the best performing stocks in North America. The company’s share price in U.S. dollars has increased 56 percent year-to-date and by 87 percent over the past three years on the NYSE, versus 14 percent and 31 percent respectively for the S&P 500.
TodayAgrium announced the preliminary results of its substantial issuer bid to repurchase up to Cdn$900,000,000 of its shares. Agrium will take up and pay for approximately 8.72 million common shares at a price of Cdn$103.00 per share under the offer. The shares purchased represent approximately six percent of the shares currently outstanding.
"The strong shareholder response and resulting successful completion of this significant share repurchase program demonstrates Agrium’s continued commitment to delivering superior shareholder returns. The Substantial Issuer Bid provided a means to return the excess capital from the agreement to sell the minority interest in the Medicine Hat nitrogen facility in a prompt and attractive manner, particularly for those shareholders with a preference for near-term liquidity. Meanwhile, all of our shareholders will continue to enjoy the benefits of our increased dividend and growth in the business," said Mike Wilson, Agrium President and CEO.
Agrium had been discussing a split of its retail and wholesale divisions with activist shareholder JANA Holdings who suggest that such a move would unlock more value for shareholders. Agrium has repeatedly shot down the notion in favor of its long-standing, successful business model which includes retail as well as wholesale components. (Click here for more)
With JANA buzzing at the ears of shareholders, Agruim is more than happy to show it does in fact have the power to service investors seeking an element of near-term liquidity. With Canpotex mourning the losses of fall potash contracts with India & China, Agrium is proving its durability in a difficult market. As other fertilizer giants are scheduling shutdowns and downgrading earnings projections, Agrium is returning value to its shareholders.
As of now...
Agrium Inc. (AGU) has been trending higher since late 1999 -- with few major nods to the downside along the way. Today $3.54 higher to close the day at $107.94.