By Roger Chesher

LOSSES by Kemira and Terra have joined those of Hydro reported by FWi earlier this week.

In the former case, the fertiliser division has reported operating losses of Euro38 million (23.4m), which includes the non-returning costs associated with the closure of their plant at Pernis in Holland.

At the same time, the Kemira group announced the sale of two of their three pigment businesses.

Terra fourth quarter net losses are reported at US$22.6m (14.2m), much of which is attributed to high natural gas prices and the low ammonium nitrate price in the UK.

None of the three are prepared to reveal operating losses specific to the UK, but these are undoubtedly highly significant contributors to the overall losses.

Despite intense speculation concerning closures and job losses at Hydro, the company is adamant that no announcement is imminent.

Kemira and Terra will certainly wait for Hydro to show their hand before plans, if any, for their own restructure are made.

Meanwhile the whole industry is under intense pressure to achieve and hold a fair return for nitrogen products.

The nitrogen market is moving quickly. With imports hard to find as cargoes are, allegedly, diverted to more profitable shores, domestic prices increase.

A price of 103/t is now posted for March, thus bringing prices in line with the late 1980s.

Compound prices are holding however as stocks are higher than those for straight N. At 110/t, 20.10.10 or 29.5.5 is a good buy.

There are lower priced deals around as merchants scurry to fulfill early orders, but with such a low import situation these are increasingly hard to find.

CURRENT MARKETS

Immediate delivery N (SP5) March delivery N pay April Imported urea Imported N deliver February Blended 20.10.10 Blended 25.5.5 Liquid N, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t
£95-100 – but hurry/FONT> £103 Granular unavailable; prilled 110-113 £84-85 higher quality £100-105 £93-96 £93-98/100,000 litres or £72-76/t

NPK February, pay April
Complex 25.5.5 103-106
20.10.10/29.5.5 February 110-113
17.17.17 February 130-133

N/S (High S) Complex 15.15.20 TSP (47% P2O5) Muriate of Potash (60% K2O)
93-96 125-130 121 121

 

IRELAND

  Imported urea

CAN

0.23.24

0.16.36

Complex compounds

Northern Ireland 120 No market No market No market No market
 

CAN

0.10.20

Urea, imported

0.7.30

Republic of Ireland* No market No market 130 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£

 

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