Moscow – The Board of Directors of PhosAgro (Moscow Exchange, LSE: PHOR), one of the world's leading vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers, has declared that 2018 was an outstanding year for the Company’s in terms of its operational and financial performance.
In summing up the 2018, PhosAgro CEO and Board of Directors member Andrey Guryev, who was recognised in the Institutional Investor Emerging EMEA executive ranking as the best CEO in the chemicals sector, said: “The Company increased production volumes last year, with the production of fertilizers and feed phosphates growing by 7.6% year-on-year to 9 million tonnes. We also produced a record 10 million tonnes of phosphate rock.
“PhosAgro retained its position as the leading supplier of all types of fertilizers to the rapidly-growing Russian market, where we sell more crop nutrients than to any other country in the world, with sales of our own fertilizer products amounting to 2.43 million tonnes in 2018. Combined with third-party products, we sold nearly 3 million tonnes of fertilizers in our priority market.
“We continued to fulfil our obligations to shareholders by paying out dividends at a decent level, while also implementing investment and production programmes, as well as social and charitable projects. We also strengthened cooperation with international organisations in the field of sustainable development and with scientific institutions working in the field of innovation-driven development.
“PhosAgro became the first Russian company in the history of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to be selected to implement a global soil protection initiative. We were the first private Russian corporation to conclude an agreement with the Russian Academy of Sciences on cooperation in the field of the innovative development of fertilizer production. The Company was awarded a gold medal by the International Fertilizer Industry Association for industrial safety, occupational health and safety and environmental protection.”
Legendary international investor and PhosAgro Independent Non-Executive Director Jim Rogers said: “PhosAgro’s impressive financial results are largely driven by growing demand for complex mineral fertilizers in the Russian market, which is the Group’s priority market. The long-term state policy being implemented by the Agriculture Ministry headed by Dmitry Patrushev to develop the Russian agricultural industry by supporting the production of high-quality ‘green’ foodstuffs, as well as non-raw-materials exports, is driving the synergetic, innovation-based development of Russian agriculture and the fertilizer sector.”
A recognised expert on agriculture, Jim Rogers believes that state support for the sector in 2019 – expected to total around RUB 300 billion – will support high growth rates of the industry and make it a key driver of Russia’s future economic growth. Jim Rogers believes that this support will also stimulate the increased use of mineral fertilisers by farmers, and that grain will be the new oil for Russia.
The meeting also took note of information regarding work on, and the results of, the self-assessment of the Board of Directors and its committees in 2018.
In addition, a new Management Board was elected that includes PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev; PhosAgro’s First Deputy CEO, Mikhail Rybnikov; PhosAgro Deputy CEO Siroj Loikov; Deputy CEO for Corporate and Legal Affairs Alexey Sirotenko; PhosAgro’s Director for Business Development Roman Osipov; PhosAgro CFO Alexander Sharbaika; First Deputy CEO of Apatit Alexander Gilgenberg; and the Chief of Staff for PhosAgro’s CEO, Alexander Seleznev. In addition, consent was given to the members of the Management Board to hold positions in the governing bodies of other organisations.
The Board of Directors also recommended that the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) adopt a decision to pay out dividends in the amount of RUB 6.6 billion, or RUB 51 per ordinary share (RUB 17 per GDR) from retained earnings as of 31 December 2018. The AGM will take place on 24 May 2019. The record date for shareholders eligible to participate in the AGM was set as 29 April 2019. The Board of Directors also approved the meeting’s agenda. It was recommended that the AGM confirm 10 June 2019 as the record date for shareholders eligible to receive dividends.
The recommendation to pay out dividends) from retained earnings as of 31 December 2018 was made following the Board of Directors’ discussion of general information about the financial results for the previous year and the Company’s 2018 consolidated financial statements under International Financial Reporting Standards, which will be disclosed today, 20 March 2019. In addition, the Board of Directors took note of the annual statutory financial report for 2018 and submitted them for consideration at the AGM.
Moreover, information was reviewed concerning an assessment of the effectiveness of the Company’s key risk management system in 4Q 2018, the results of the revaluation of those risks and an update to the risk map for 2019.
The Board of Directors approved a report on compliance with the principles and recommendations of the Corporate Governance Code for 2018, confirming that, at present, PhosAgro’s corporate governance system and practice fully meet the Company’s current needs and ensure that shareholders can exercise their rights.
The Board of Directors also considered the issue of recognising Sven Ombudstvedt and Marcus Rhodes, who have been members of the Board since 2011, as independent candidates for election to the new Board at the AGM. The Board recognised them as such in accordance with the provisions of the Corporate Governance Code and Moscow Exchange Listing Rules, while also taking into account their history of making unbiased, independent and objective decisions in the interests of all shareholders and PhosAgro itself.
Today’s meeting also approved a report on interested-party transactions concluded in 2018, and gave preliminary approval to the Company’s 2018 Annual report, which will be presented to the AGM.
It was also recommended that the AGM approve FBK LLC as the Company’s auditor in accordance with Russian Accounting Standards for 2019.