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Production resumes at Wintershall and Hattorf potash sites

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Fertilizer,

K+S has resumed production at the Wintershall (Heringen) and Hattorf (Philippsthal) sites. Full, unrestricted production of Plant Werra should be achieved by October 1.

The reason for the interruption was the long-lasting drought, which caused the low water levels in the Werra river. As a result of this, the disposal of saline wastewater was only very limited or not possible at all.

“Our team has coped with this extraordinary situation with great flexibility and also helped out at sister sites in the interim. My thanks therefore, go out to all the colleagues at the Werra Plant”, said K+S CEO Dr. Burkhard Lohr.

Over the past five weeks, the temporary disposal of the tailings piles and production water in Lower Saxony as well as Saxony-Anhalt, has created enough free capacity in the onsite storage basins to make the resumption of production possible. In addition, two additional storage basins are also available at short notice.

In August, K+S pointed out that production could be interrupted due to the long-lasting extreme drought conditions. The related negative effects on earnings are not included in the previously mentioned EBITDA forecast for 2018 in the range of €660 - €740 million. The earnings effects per day of standstill were estimated at up to €1.5 million per site. Due to the required standstills, K+S expects a negative EBITDA effect of around €80 million in the third quarter.

From a present-day perspective, further production stoppages until the end of the year are unlikely. But these cannot be completely ruled out because the recent rainfall has not had a normalising effect on the water levels. Therefore, further extensive shipments of saline wastewater for offsite disposal and the additional costs associated with these are likely in the coming months.

K+S will publish new earnings estimates for the full year 2018 when presenting the third quarter figures on November 15.

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