Mosaic Co. is shaking up the senior leadership of its two major business segments, after the company and others in the fertilizer industry struggled with lower sales during the past several quarters.
The Plymouth-based company announced that Walter Precourt III will become senior vice president of its phosphate operations, effective June 1. Precourt is currently senior vice president of the company’s potash operations.
Mosaic also said that Bruce Bodine will become vice president of the company’s potash operations, effective April 1, leaving his current position as leader of Mosaic’s supply chain.
Gary “Bo” Davis, who led the phosphate operations for the past six years, will become a senior adviser until he retires in early 2017.
Company spokesman Ben Pratt said the changes are part of Mosaic’s “strategic succession planning process” that has been underway for some time. “These changes will build on our strong foundation and our track record of exceptional leadership,” he said in a statement.
Mosaic is a global producer of phosphate and potash crop nutrients for agricultural operations worldwide. Fertilizer prices often track corn and soybean prices, and both have been down for the past couple of years.
Mosaic’s phosphates segment reported a 9 percent year-over-year decline in revenue to $1 billion in third quarter 2015, caused by lower sales volumes and lower realized prices. Revenue for its potash dropped about 17 percent year over year, from $593 million to $492 million in the quarter.
The company’s next earnings report will be on Feb. 11, but it anticipates phosphates sales volumes in the range of 1.9 million to 2.2 million tons for the fourth quarter, compared with 2.4 million tons a year ago. It expects a similar range of decreases with potash sales volumes.
In September, the company said it was reducing production of potash because domestic and international crop nutrient markets had softened.
And in December, the company laid off 46 workers, or 8 percent of its workforce, at its Colonsay potash mine in Saskatchewan. Executives said at the time that the layoffs would be permanent and that potash prices have fallen in the past year because of excessive mining capacity and reduced demand in key foreign markets.
The stock’s 52-week trading range is $22.69 to $53.83, and shares closed on Wednesday at $23.93, down 90 cents for the day.