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Agrimarketing : July 2009
52 View From the Top:70 View From the Top 7/15/09 2:51 PM Page 52 : AgriumAdvanced Technologies NEWBUSINESSBEGINNINGTOGROW Name: AndrewMittag Title: President, AgriumAdvanced Technologies (AAT), Sylacauga, AL Career:Has alsoworkedwithRockland Capital Partners, TXUCorp., Koch Industries,Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, Lehman Brothers and Commerzbank AG. Education: B.A.Hamilton College;MBA, Finance and Accounting, Columbia University. AM:What is the origin of the business? Mittag:AgriumAdvanced Technologies (AAT) has been a strategic business unit ofAgrium, Inc. for the past three years. It is the result of the integration of Agrium’s specialty fertilizer business and the acquisitions ofNu-Gro Technologies and Pursell Technologies,whichwere both acquired byAgriumin 2006. AM:What are its current products and markets it serves? Mittag:AAT is the leadingmanufacturer andmarketer of slow- and controlled-release fertilizers and micronutrients for the agriculture, professional turf and ornamental, consumer lawn and garden and specialty agriculturemarkets. Ourmanufactured brands include: ESN(Environmentally SmartNitrogen), POLYON,XCU, NITROFORM,NUTRALENE and DURATIONCRslow- and controlled-release fertilizers, PRECISE controlled-release plant protection, andULTRAYIELDmicronutrients. In addition,we provide awide range of products to the professional turf grass, horticulture, customer lawn and gardenmarkets inCanada and theU.S. through our professional products distribution businesses. AM:Howhas the demand for its products been? Mittag:We have experienced consistent growth in demand for our products over the last five years across all our business lines. As youwould expect fromthe financial headlines, the recent eco- 52 AgriMarketing s July/August 2009 nomic downturn has hurt the entire professional business, particularly golf courses and nurseries.However we do not feel ourmarket leading position has been eroded, but rather we havemaintained ourmarket share during a difficult time for the entiremarket. The other side of the professional business, the lawn and landscape and consumermarkets, has proven very resilient to the economic downturn andwe believe that the inclusion of the former Eastern Division of theUAPProfessional ProductsDivisionwill balance our portfolio of customers. The demand for our agriculture products,UltraYieldMicronutrients and ESN, has continued to be strong and growrapidly.Agriculture has not historically had access to controlled release fertilizer products, and ESNis the only polymer coated product currently available for broad acre agriculture. This is our fastest growing sector andwe continue to increase ourmarket penetration over traditional forms of nitrogen as growers recognize the proven value ESN provides to their fertility program. This growth is illustrated by our recent announcement to expand our capacity for ESNthrough the construction of a new120,000 ton capacity plant inNewMadrid,MO. AM:HowdoesAATtakethemtothemarket (typeofdistribution, sales force,etc.)? Mittag:AAT utilizesmultiple distribution channels across our business. For our agriculture business,we distribute through select retailers who then sell directly to growers.We have a full-time sales staff forNorth America aswell as a contracted sales staff inwesternCanada to serve our retail partners. In addition,we have a full-time staff of agronomistswho are dedicated to continuing our research aswell as supporting our customers in the appropriate use of these products. For the professionalmarkets,we have additional full-time sales staff acrossNorthAmerica.We sell our products through a combination of formulator/blender customers, distributors, and joint venture partners. AM:Howdo you see the unit’s future? Mittag:AAT is a very newbusiness that is just beginning to grow.We are looking at a variety of opportunities for rapid growth over the next five years. Three of the key areas of growthwill come fromexpansion of our existing products, continued product development and international expansion. To help uswith product develop- ment,we have a dedicated research and development groupwhich is continually looking at developing new, smart technologies for all of our customers aswell asways ofmaking our existing products better and more affordable.Our strong position in the professionalmarkets allows us to develop newproducts and bring themover to the agriculturemarkets when possible. In addition, to enhance our newproduct development opportunities,wewill be investing in pilot plants thatwill reduce the time and cost to bring new products to themarket. Finally, our international business represents less than 5%of our business today.However,we still receive numerous inquiries for access to our products fromoutsideNorthAmerica.Ahuge opportunity remains for us to explore international business. Overall, I amvery excited about the growth opportunities forAgrium Advanced Technologies and the benefits to our customers and our employees. AM
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