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Potash production at Werra plant secure until at least Christmas

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World Fertilizer,

K+S has announced that full production at the three sites of the Werra potash plant in Hesse-Thuringia, Germany, is now guaranteed up to and including 23 December, despite the persistent drought in the region.

The company has said that it is able to do so because of continuous optimisation of wastewater management as well as the use of existing possibilities for off-site disposal.

Against this background and assuming a prolonged extreme drought, disposal-related stoppages in production are now only expected to continue over the holidays until 1 January. Should significant rainfall occur in the coming days, these stoppages could be further reduced.

Because of this, K+S is expecting a negative EBITDA effect of a maximum of €15 million in 4Q18. "We can now confirm our range for the EBITDA of €570 - 630 million, including this possible additional burden. Thereby we expect an average de-icing salt business in December," said Dr. Burkhard Lohr, CEO of K+S.

Lohr added: "Our de-icing salt business has started very well. But the important month is December. On top of that, there is a continuation of the positive price development as well as continued robust demand in the potash business."

K+S will use the expected production stoppages to reduce inventories in the buffer storage ponds. This should mean that stoppages in potash production at the Werra plant are unlikely, even if the drought persists in 1Q19.

From early summer 2019, the company is also expected to be in a position to increase the on-site temporary storage capacity for saline wastewater by up to 400 000 m3 , to a total of up to 1 million m3. The technical solution for the underground storage of saline wastewater has been found. The preparation of the approval has been initiated. "In the coming year, we should have a significantly higher level of reliability in production, even in drought conditions", concluded Lohr.

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