In December 1998, IMC announced it would withdraw from the urea business, and it halted production at the Faustina site in the summer of 1999. "It was important that we were able to harvest some value for the facility by selling it rather than just mothballing the plant," says Dave Prichard, vice-president of investor and corporate relations at IMC. MissChem is already running the plant under a short-term licensing agreement from IMC-Agrico. The companies expect to close the deal in the second quarter.
The site can produce roughly 560,000 short tons of ammonia annually, which will remain in IMC-Agrico hands. Material from the ammonia plant serves as a feedstock for the production of concentrated phosphates at IMC-Agrico's Faustina facility. Last November, DAP and MAP production at the site was temporarily reduced to about 1.6 million tons.
IMC continues to restructure its business to focus on its core crop nutrients: phosphate and potash. In February, the company announced it is exploring strategic options for its salt business, IMC Salt, which could be divested alone or in combination with the company's IMC Chemicals unit.