07 June 2001 16:55 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--Terra Industries said Thursday it will suspend ammonia and urea production at its Blytheville, Arkansas facility 10 June and lay off 71 employees or 75% of the workforce because of a "substantial decline" in urea prices.
Production will resume at the 420 000 tonne/year ammonia and 480 000 tonne/year urea facilities when selling prices increase and natural gas costs "decrease to the point where the facility can operate with positive cash flow" the company said.
Terra said the workers might be laid off for three to six months, depending on market conditions. Terra will continue to operate its Blytheville ammonia and urea storage and shipping facilities.
Said Michael Bennett, Terra's president and chief executive: "Record urea imports have created a supply that exceeded this year's demand, which has been hampered by adverse weather, low grain prices and early concerns about product availability. It may take three months or longer for industry-wide urea inventories to return to normal levels.
The Blytheville facility represents 14% of the company's total North America ammonia and 73% of its urea manufacturing capacity.
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