Yara is a global company converting energy, natural minerals and nitrogen from the air into essential products for the farming community and industrial customers. During 2009, Yara retained its global position as the world’s leading provider of nitrogen-based mineral fertilizers and industrial products, as well as its unrivalled global presence, with operations in more than 50 countries and sales to more than 120.
The company has developed a unique business model with three operating segments: Downstream, Industrial and Upstream – all supported by the global Supply & Trade organization. At year-end, 7,629 people were employed by Yara, worldwide. Yara is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, and has been listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange since 2004.
Yara’s global activities range from phosphate mining and ammonia production, through commodity trade and energy arbitrage, to building local market knowledge and developing customer relationships. The backbone of the company’s operations was large-scale ammonia and fertilizer production in Europe, but in recent years new capacity has been added in regions with low-cost gas supplies: the Middle East and North Africa, Trinidad and Australia, today representing about 35 percent of Yara’s production volumes.
Yara’s fertilizer and industrial products share a common platform. They utilize the company’s knowledge and leadership position in the production and distribution of ammonia, urea and nitrates. They also share a common market approach, in which Yara uses its experience and expertise to provide total solutions that meet the needs of the customers and bring true value to their businesses. Yara offers the industry’s most comprehensive fertilizer product portfolio, supported by large-scale sourcing, production and trade as well as presence in the local marketplace.
The main organizational structure continued in 2009, with minor changes at headquarters: Yara established a compliance unit and created the new position of Chief Technological Officer (CTO).
The President and CEO of Yara International ASA, Jørgen Ole Haslestad, took up his position in October 2008, having previously served on the Board of Directors. During 2009, several changes were made in the Executive Management team. The changes were related to the effort to further improve Yara’s global processes, rather than reflecting any change in strategy.
Effective Aug. 1, Hallgeir Storvik became Chief Financial Officer & Head of Strategy, replacing Egil Hogna as CFO. Hogna took over as Head of Downstream, following predecessor Edward Cavazuti’s desire to move back to the USA, heading Yara’s business development in the Americas.
Trond Stangeby took over as acting Head of Industrial after Terje Bakken, who became responsible for Supply & Trade. Håkan Hallén succeeded Anne Grethe Dalane as Chief Human Resource Officer, Dalane taking over as Business Unit Manager Latin America and Country Manager Argentina.
As of Oct. 1, Bente G. H. Slaatten took over as Chief Communication and Branding Officer from Arne Cartridge, who left the company in 2010. Slaatten previously served as VP Communications. In January 2010, Yves Bonte became the new Head of Industrial.
The mineral fertilizer market is composed of the three main crop nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Nitrogen is the most important and by far the largest, accounting for more than 60 percent of global fertilizer consumption. Whereas phosphorus (phosphate) and potassium fertilizers are primarily applied to improve crop quality, nitrogen must be applied every year to maintain yield and biomass. Consequently, nitrogen consumption is less volatile than that of phosphorus and potassium.
Given the different locations of raw materials and the variety of nutrient requirements, as well as local market demands, the industry has historically been divided into a number of nutrient-specific sub-sectors. A number of companies serve national markets, several serve sub-regional markets; just a few operate on a global scale. As nitrogen is produced on all continents from hydrocarbons, mainly from natural gas, and air, the N fertilizer industry is less consolidated than the P and K industries. Large suppliers of P and K fertilizers are limited in number and concentrated in regions close to natural deposits of phosphate rock and potash ores.
The mineral fertilizer industry has also historically been affected by state involvement and funding to secure national food supplies. However, with declining state involvement and government-owned enterprises becoming more market-oriented, there is a trend toward consolidation and stronger financial discipline across the whole industry. The nitrogen industry has undergone significant restructuring in Europe and North America, a process Yara has been involved in and aims to remain part of.