Acron Group’s Output Up 6% in 2021

·6 min read

19 January 2022

Acron Group’s Output Up 6% in 2021

The Group’s Consolidated Output

(including operating results for Acron, Dorogobuzh,

and North-Western Phosphorous Company)

Product, ‘000 t

2021

2020

YOY, %

MINERAL FERTILISERS

Ammonia

2,909

2,729

6.6%

Incl. in-house consumption

2,845

2,617

Nitrogen fertilisers, including

5,058

4,707

7.5%

Incl. in-house consumption

921

690

AN

2,241

2,430

-7.8%

Incl. in-house consumption

339

213

Urea

1,463

1,180

23.9%

Incl. in-house consumption

582

477

Incl. prilled urea

400

485

-17.5%

Incl. in-house consumption

17

16

Incl. granulated urea

529

261

102.7%

Incl. in-house consumption

32

26

UAN

1,354

1,096

23.5%

Complex fertilisers, including

2,625

2,372

10.7%

Incl. in-house consumption

61

52

NPK

2,406

2,236

7.6%

Incl. in-house consumption

61

52

Bulk blends

219

136

61.0%

Total commercial output for Mineral Fertilisers

6,765

6,448

4.9%

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS

Organic compounds, including

474

423

12.1%

Incl. in-house consumption

246

213

Methanol

105

98

7.7%

Incl. in-house consumption

91

78

Formalin

169

151

12.4%

Incl. in-house consumption

150

131

Urea-formaldehyde resins

199

174

14.3%

Incl. in-house consumption

6

4

Non-organic compounds, including:

1,187

1,035

14.6%

Low-density and technical-grade AN

469

318

47.5%

Industrial urea

170

140

22.1%

Calcium carbonate

483

515

-6.3%

Liquid carbon dioxide

57

55

3.1%

Argon

7

7

-2.3%

Total commercial output for Industrial Products

1,415

1,245

13.6%

RAW PHOSPHATES

Apatite concentrate

1,255

1,182

6.1%

Incl. in-house consumption

950

900

Total commercial output for Apatite Concentrate

305

283

7.9%

TOTAL COMMERCIAL OUTPUT

8,485

7,976

6.4%

Note:

Commercial output is output less in-house consumption.

Chairman of Acron’s Board of Directors Alexander Popov commented on the results:

‘Acron Group set a new record in 2021, ramping up commercial output 6% year-on-year to 8.5 million tonnes and outstripping the target set a year ago. As a key milestone in 2021 we can name completed Urea-6+ project that brought urea output to record 1.6 million tonnes.

‘Looking forward, we want to use the upward momentum of mineral fertiliser prices in 2021 and both accelerate ongoing investment projects and kick off new ones.

‘Upgrades to ammonia units 2 and 3 and urea units 1 through 4 are underway at Acron’s Novgorod-based site. We plan to complete these projects in 2023, which will boost ammonia capacity by 375 ktpa and urea capacity by 390 ktpa. At the same time, we will construct a second urea granulation unit.

‘In 2022, we plan to complete construction of a 100-ktpa calcium nitrate unit. We are undertaking production of this new water-soluble fertiliser in response to client demand around the world.

‘The Dorogobuzh site will see technical upgrades at its ammonia unit and the completion of a new nitric acid unit, which will result in a higher ammonium nitrate output and allow us to increase supplies to the domestic market, where this nitrogen fertiliser is traditionally popular.

‘We expect the Group’s commercial output to reach 8.7 million tonnes in 2022’.

Performance Analysis

In 2021, Acron Group’s total commercial output was up 6% to 8,485,000 tonnes. This increase was mainly due to a number of investment projects implemented at the Group’s Novgorod-based site in the recent years, including construction of a urea granulation unit in mid-2020, a capacity increase at the Ammonia-4 unit in late 2020, and a comprehensive overhaul of the Urea-6 unit in 2021. These efforts boosted output of nitrogen mineral fertilisers, industrial urea, and ammonium nitrate.

The Group’s mineral fertiliser output was up 5% to 6,765,000 tonnes last year. Industrial product output increased 14% to 1,415,000 tonnes following the Group’s success at promoting industrial-grade urea and ammonium nitrate in international markets. Output of these products was up 40% to 640,000 tonnes.

In 2021, the Group’s ammonia output was up 7% to 2,909,000 tonnes, and the volume of ammonia processed through to end products increased to 98% from 96%.

As production of industrial-grade ammonium nitrate went up last year, the Group saw an 8% dip in output of agricultural-grade ammonium nitrate to 2,241,000 tonnes. Output of agricultural-grade urea, however, was up 24% to 1,463,000 tonnes. The Group launched production of granulated urea in 2020 and doubled its output in 2021 year-on-year to 529,000 tonnes. UAN output was up 24% year-on-year to 1,354,000 tonnes due to a better price environment.

The Group’s output of complex fertilisers was up 11% in 2021 to 2,625,000 tonnes, backed by both a favourable price environment and increased production of apatite concentrate at the Oleniy Ruchey mine, where output was up 6% to 1,255,000 tonnes.

Market Trends

Global urea prices soared in Q4 2021. FOB Baltic Sea prices reached an all-time record high of USD 900 per tonne after a significant jump in natural gas prices with associated shutdowns of some capacity in Europe and export restrictions in China, Egypt, and Russia. Prices were further supported by strong demand from India and Brazil and high demand for urea in the industrial sector. In January 2022, urea prices adjusted as the import season came to a close in India and Brazil. That said, prices continue to be supported by high gas prices in Europe and export restrictions in China, Russia, and Egypt.

Like urea, ammonium nitrate and UAN prices increased rapidly in Q4 2021. FOB Baltic Sea prices set new records (USD 750 and USD 630 per tonne of AN and UAN respectively) backed by higher urea prices, which serve as a benchmark for these fertilisers, and higher production costs for these products in Europe resulting from soaring gas prices. Despite these issues, Russian producers continue to meet their commitments to support the domestic market and supply fertilisers to Russian growers at prices far below the global market.

NPK prices were on the rise in Q4 2021, driven mainly by higher prices for the basic products (urea, DAP, and potassium chloride). The increase in basic product prices outstripped blends because of their higher liquidity, so NPK 16-16-16 sold at a 5% discount to the basic product basket despite its historical average premium of about 20%. The premium over the basic products is expected to return to normal in the coming months.

Average Indicative Prices, USD/t, FOB Baltic/Black Sea

Q4 2021

Q3 2021

Q4 2020

Q4 2021 /
Q3 2021

change

Q4 2021 /
Q4 2020

change

NPK 16-16-16

579

425

262

36.2%

121.0%

AN

646

309

166

109.1%

289.2%

UAN

612

308

119

98.7%

414.3%

Urea

807

445

234

81.3%

244.9%

Ammonia

822

571

211

44.0%

289.6%


2021

2020

2021/2020

NPK 16-16-16

416

256

62.5%

AN

355

167

112.6%

UAN

356

125

184.8%

Urea

480

222

116.2%

Ammonia

543

204

166.2%

Media contacts:

Sergey Dorofeev

Anastasia Gromova

Tatiana Smirnova

Public Relations

Phone: +7 (495) 777-08-65 (ext. 5196)

Investor contacts:

Ilya Popov

Investor Relations

Phone: +7 (495) 745-77-45 (ext. 5252)

Background Information

Acron Group is a leading vertically integrated mineral fertiliser producer in Russia and globally, with chemical production facilities in Veliky Novgorod (Acron) and Smolensk region (Dorogobuzh). The Group owns and operates a phosphate mine in Murmansk region (North-Western Phosphorous Company, NWPC) and is implementing a potash development project in Perm Krai (Verkhnekamsk Potash Company, VPC). It owns transportation and logistics infrastructure, including three Baltic seaport terminals and distribution networks in Russia and China. Acron subsidiary North Atlantic Potash Inc. (NAP) holds mining leases and an exploration permit for ten parcels of the potassium salt deposit at Prairie Evaporite, Saskatchewan, Canada. Acron also holds a minority stake (19.8%) in Polish Grupa Azoty S.A., one of the largest chemical producers in Europe.

In 2020, the Group sold 7.8 million tonnes of its main products to 74 countries, with Russia, Brazil, Europe, and the United States as key markets.

In 2020, the Group posted consolidated IFRS revenue of RUB 119,864 million (USD 1,661 million), with EBITDA of RUB 35,311 million (USD 489 million). Acron’s shares are traded on the Moscow Exchange, and its global depositary receipts are traded at the London Stock Exchange (ticker AKRN). Acron employs over 11,000 people.r

For more information about Acron Group, please visit www.acron.ru/en.