Yara is in a position to take advantage of global business opportunities. Building on our unique flexibility, we shall develop our ability to pursue opportunities and strengthen our positions.
Taking charge as Yara’s CEO in October 2008, I joined a company with a strong corporate citizenship position – based on a mature understanding of what citizenship takes, and what it can achieve. Yara’s contributions to meeting major global challenges include the issues of food security and global warming.
2008 put Yara’s global structure to a test, having to reduce output at the end of the year. The flexibility of our unique business model was tried: Its agility and the company’s ability to handle market volatility proved strong. An important part of this strength lies in over a century of pioneering the mineral fertilizer industry, and the performance culture developed through dedicated work.
At large, 2008 was a positive year for Yara, with clearly the best results ever – increasing our sales volume and net income, our earnings and returns. We delivered on our goals. We followed up on our sustainable growth strategy, pursuing opportunities and building strength. In particular, I will mention the acquisition of Saskferco in Canada, and the establishment of Lifeco in Libya in early 2009. As a member of Yara’s Board of Directors, I supported this strategy; as the company’s CEO I will implement it.
Global companies have to take account of global trends. Operating on a truly global scale, Yara’s business environment is – and will increasingly be – influenced by these. Not only do we need to understand them in order to reduce risks; monitoring global trends means preparing for the future – to be able to seize opportunities, and to avert or reduce detrimental effects.
I see a number of opportunities arising from prevailing trends and past crisis; opportunities to create, opportunities to contribute. It is my intention to encourage the development of environmental solutions, contributing to reduce climate change and to improve people’s health. Being an active farmer myself, I will obviously champion the cause of sustainable agriculture.
The global trends and shaping issues we have identified in Yara are gradually influencing our strategy and business. They are inspiring us on our course towards becoming an Industry Shaper – also with regards to corporate citizenship.
Constantly anticipating change – continuously improving performance.
Jørgen Ole Haslestad
President and CEO