Fertiliser giant to move on WA

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian

One of the world’s biggest fertiliser producers and marketers is about to enter the WA market in a move with big ramifications for Wesfarmers-owned CSBP.

Koch, which started operating on the east coast in 2010, is targeting a big share of the WA market which was worth an estimated $800 million last year.

It is understood to have an agreement with farm products and services provider Landmark as part of the expansion into Australia’s biggest grain-growing State.

Landmark has had a similar working relationship with CSBP over recent years and helped with grower finance of fertiliser sales.

The Koch move comes as CBH prepares to load its first shipment of phosphate in China for the local market after launching a fertiliser sales arm this year.

There is also industry speculation that Louis Dreyfus is keen to sell its global fertiliser interests, including the Macrofertil operations in WA.

The other big fertiliser supplier in WA is Sumitomo-owned Summit, which works with Elders in a relationship similar to the one that has existed between CSBP and Landmark.

Koch Fertiliser Australia general manager Ross Warren said he could not comment on plans for WA. The other key players also refused to speculate on the possible consequences.

CSBP said it expected competition in the WA fertiliser market to increase and would “continue to develop plans and strategies to provide the best value offering in the market”.

Industry sources said CSBP had more than 60 per cent of market share in WA followed by Summit and Macrofertil.

CSBP has a major chemical and fertiliser production complex at Kwinana, a soil and plant analysis laboratory in Perth and fertiliser storage and dispatch facilities in Geraldton, Bunbury, Albany and Esperance.

Based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch is one of the biggest privately owned companies in the US. It has fertiliser production plants in the US and Canada and a distribution network that takes in North America, South America and Europe.

In five years since opening a fertiliser terminal in Geelong and office in Melbourne, it has added terminals in Brisbane, Adelaide, Port Kembla and Portland.

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