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This Fertilizer Merger Doesn’t Smell Right

The fertilizer business is all about finding the right chemistry for growth, but that has been elusive amid a multiyear industry slump. The latest experiment, a “potential merger of equals” between Canadian industry giants Potash Corp. of Saska POT 10.84 % tchewan and Agrium Inc., AGU 7.02 % reflects just how desperate things have become.

Fertilizer prices, and especially those for potash, of which Potash Corp is the No. 2 producer globally, have cratered in the past three years on a combination of weak farm incomes, poor Chinese demand and the 2013 collapse of a major selling cartel in Russia and Belarus. Last month, Potash Corp. sharply cut its...


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