January 4, 2018 / 5:55 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Canadian fertilizer producer Nutrien to keep Saskatchewan base -premier

(Updates with comments from Nutrien, Saskatchewan government)

By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Nutrien Ltd, the fertilizer company formed this week by a merger of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan and Agrium, has committed to establishing its head office in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan and increasing corporate office jobs there, Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall said on Thursday.

Wall said that in recent meetings, Nutrien’s leading executives agreed to increase corporate office positions in Saskatchewan by 15 percent, to 300.

Saskatchewan is home to all of Nutrien’s operating potash mines, and the provincial government sets royalties and taxes on production. The location of top executives has long been politically sensitive as many were once based in Chicago.

Nutrien is the biggest global fertilizer producer by capacity, and has the largest U.S. network of farm retail stores.

Nutrien committed that its chief executive “and/or” its executive chair and president of potash operations will live in Saskatchewan, Wall said in a statement.

That promise is already satisfied, as Nutrien CEO Chuck Magro lives in Calgary, Alberta, where Agrium was based, while Executive Chairman Jochen Tilk lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Magro will continue to live in Calgary, but also plans to buy a home in Saskatoon, Nutrien spokesman Richard Downey said.

A spokeswoman for Wall, Karen Hill, said Saskatchewan did not make any new commitments to Nutrien in return. Wall will resign as premier in about a month, after his Saskatchewan Party picks a new leader on Jan. 27.

Nutrien shares dipped slightly in Toronto, but rose modestly in New York. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas)

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