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Agrium To Cut Jobs, Sell Certain Underperforming Operations

John Seward

Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU) will cut 500 jobs and divest poorly performing business, its chief executive Charles V. Magro told investors at a conference in Toronto Wednesday.

The Calgary-based fertilizer and farm supplies retailer, which employed about 15,800 people at the outset of 2014, also unveiled plans for a big cutback in capital spending.

The company expects capital spending will peak in the current year at $2.15 billion and decline in 2015 to $1.3 billion, falling further thereafter to an annual average of $800 million.

Agrium expects to continue for "two to three years" its long-term plan for cutting the number of its retail locations.

Separately, Reuters reported Tuesday that CEO Charles V. Magro had met recently with activist shareholder ValueAct Capital, which disclosed a 5.7 percent stake in Agrium in October.

Magro said ValueAct approves of Agrium's current strategy, according to Reuters.

Agrium won a proxy battle last year with Jana Partners' Barry Rosenstein, who sought a spin-off of the company's retail operations.

Agrium traded recently at $98.19, up 1 percent.

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