Germany’s K+S would be prepared in case of recession – CEO

10 November 2011 17:24  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--K+S is well-positioned should there be a recession next year, the CEO of the Germany-based fertilizer major said on Thursday.

“We have a range of products that are needed for life and growth – growth in the original sense of the word,” chief executive Norbert Steiner said with reference to the world's population, which this year passed the 7bn mark.

“The 7bn number is in line with trends, and by 2050 global population is forecast to grow to 9bn,” Steiner said in a briefing following K+S' third-quarter results.

The growing population leads to wealth and changes in nutrition patterns, thus driving fundamentals in K+S core fertilizer and salt businesses, he added.

Meanwhile, Kassel-based K+S is in a good financial position after having managed to cut its debts in recent years, Steiner said. The company’s equity-to-capital ratio stands at over 45%, he added.

Steiner also said that a recession was certainly not inevitable.

“We should not talk ourselves into this” by viewing a recession as inevitable, he added.

“There are signs of lower growth, but if this will lead to a recession that remains to be seen, and I hope it won’t happen,” Steiner said.

Also, a recession, should it occur, would affect different sectors and industries in different ways, he added.

In related news, the European Commission on Thursday cut its 2012 eurozone growth forecast to 0.5% from 1.8% and warned that a new recession is a possibility.

Earlier on Thursday, K+S reported a 49% year-on-year increase in third-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), to €254.5m ($344m), on strong demand for its fertilizers and significantly higher potash prices.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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