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fertilizer boom just beginning says potash ceo

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    Fertilizer Makers Gain as Doyle Says Crop Boom `Just Beginning'

    By Christopher Donville and Jack Kaskey

    Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Mosaic Co., Terra Industries Inc. and other fertilizer makers gained after Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. Chief Executive Officer William Doyle said food demand in India and China will boost crop-nutrient sales for years to come.

    Potash Corp. is so confident in its long-term prospects that executives considered taking the company private after the stock price fell more than 21 percent during three days in mid- January, Doyle said.

    ``Certain people thought it was the end of the agriculture story when it is really just the beginning,'' Doyle, 57, said today in an interview in New York with Bloomberg Television. ``We know that our earnings will be much stronger this year.''

    Fertilizer makers, seed producers and other agricultural companies are benefiting from a global surge in grain prices that is giving farmers more money to spend on yield-boosting crop nutrients. Soybeans rose to a record today on the Chicago Board of Trade, and wheat touched an all-time high on Feb. 11.

    Potash Corp., the world's largest maker of crop nutrients by market value, surged C$5.67, or 3.8 percent, to C$155.02 at 3:59 p.m. in Toronto Stock Exchange trading.

    Mosaic, the world's largest producer of phosphate fertilizer, rose $6.18, or 6 percent, to $109.55 in New York. The shares have more than quadrupled in the past year.

    Agrium Inc., the largest retailer of crop nutrients in the U.S., rose C$3.22, or 4.9 percent, to C$69 in Toronto.

    CF Industries Holdings Inc., which makes nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers, gained $8.51, or 7.2 percent, to $126.68 in New York. The shares have more than tripled in the past 12 months.

    Terra Industries, the largest U.S. producer of liquid- nitrogen fertilizer, climbed $2.98, or 6.4 percent, to $49.36 in New York. The shares have nearly tripled in the past year.

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