By Roger Chesher

NEWS of restructuring of the UK fertiliser business is quiet at present.

Hydro has plans to publicly reveal its new structure and strategy later next month, and is currently working on the proposals to shed 226 of its 396 workforce.

The bulk of the job losses will be in manufacturing and, while 47 are destined to leave the commercial departments, this should have little or no impact in the field.

Hydro Agri UK remains a market-oriented organisation.

While the company is signalling that its commercial operation is little changed, there is no doubt that UK head Doug Shaw will seek to maximise returns on products, all of which will now be imported.

Inevitably, there is bitterness among the workforce at Immingham that a modern and efficient plant should be closed, while governments elsewhere fight to retain jobs at older sites.

But, agriculture in Britain is left to sink or swim without intervention.

Kemira is awaiting the outcome of possible joint-venture proposals for the ownership of the newly formed Kemira Nitrogen division. More information is expected in April.

The strike by the Kemira workforce in Finland has ended, but production has only just come into full swing.

Supplies of nitrogen in Europe remain tight as UK suppliers move into their April pricing structures.

This would have put domestic ammonium nitrate at 105/t cash, but with the breakdown at Immingham still not resolved there is a real chance that we shall see AN above 110/t in April, possibly as high as 113/t.

Compound prices will also rise and the manufacturers are likely to seek a cash only market for aftercut products whose prices are less likely to be eroded this year as the season develops.

CURRENT MARKETS

Immediate delivery N (SP5) April delivery N pay cash Imported urea (if available) Imported AN (if available) Blended 20.10.10 Blended 25.5.5 Liquid N, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t
£105 – but hurry £110+ Granular unavailable; prilled 104 £98 higher quality £110+ £101-103 £93-98/100,000 litres or £72-76/t

NPK April, pay cash
Complex 25.5.5 111-113
20.10.10/29.5.5 121-123
17.17.17 130-133

After cutting NK cash Complex 15.15.20 TSP (47% P2O5) Muriate of Potash (60% K2O)
113+ 125-130 128 128

 

IRELAND

  Imported urea

CAN

0.23.24

0.16.36

Complex compounds
27.6.6

Northern Ireland 130 117 No market No market 140
 

CAN

0.10.20

Urea, imported

0.7.30

Republic of Ireland* 115-120 No market 150-160 No market

*Note in the Republic of Ireland nutrients are expressed as elements not oxides. Analyses will not be directly comparable with those used in the UK.

*Prices in the Republic are IR£

  • IR1=UK0.773 on 29 March

     

    Note All illustrated prices are based upon 20 tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.

    Source: Bridgewater Partnership