K+S vows new Saskatchewan mine won’t undermine prices

K+S Potash Canada CEO Ulrich Lamp and members of the RCMP unveil a new highway sign on May 2, 2017, to announce the K+S Legacy mine’s name change to “Bethune.” (KS-PotashCanada.com)

Frankfurt | Reuters — German potash miner K+S vowed it would not have to undercut rivals on price as it brings two million tonnes of new potash capacity to the North American market next year.

Faced with the gradual depletion of its domestic reserves over the next 35 to 40 years, K+S built its new Bethune mine, previously known as Legacy, in Western Canada even as many experts describe the North American market as oversupplied.

The company held its formal opening for the mine on May 2 at Bethune, Sask., about 50 km northwest of Regina.

“We will not undermine our price levels from the additional volumes that we will get out of Bethune,” CEO Norbert Steiner, who will hand over to finance chief Burkhard Lohr this week, told analysts during a call to discuss quarterly results.

“Our customers have asked us to ship more than we were able to do, this is now the time where we can sell more to them… This will not be pushed into the market with, let’s say, brutality, we wanted to maintain decent price levels and so far we have never undercut price levels in the past and we will continue to act in this way,” he added.

He said while output capacity will be ramped up to two million tonnes per year in 2018, the company expects actual output to be in the 1.7 to 1.8 million tonne range.

Market researchers expect 2018 demand for potash of 66 million tonnes amid global output capacity of 84.4 million tonnes.

Reporting for Reuters by Ludwig Burger.

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