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Fertiliser giants Potash Corp, Agrium in merger talks

[MONTREAL] The world's largest crop nutrient supplier Potash Corporation and rival Agrium - both Canadian - are in preliminary merger talks, the two said Tuesday.

"No decision has been made as to whether to proceed with such a combination, no agreement has been reached, and there can be no assurance that any transaction will result from these discussions," they said in a joint statement.

Based in Canada's Saskatchewan province, Potash Corporation is the top producer of a potassium compound used in agriculture as a fertiliser.

Its Calgary, Alberta-based rival, Agrium, also produces potash in addition to having an extensive distribution network of chemical fertilisers in the United States.

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Their merger talks come as the global demand for fertilisers is down sharply in emerging countries like Brazil due to the economic downturn.

In Toronto, Potash Corporation stock gained 11.5 per cent following the announcement, to C$23.30, while Agrium shares rose seven per cent to C$124.84.