Thursday, August 19, 2010

Only in Saskatchewan . . .

could the biggest international business story turn into a political quagmire. The media have replayed the privatization and solicited salacious response from the public. The responding public seems only to rehash the Devine era and seems to believe that had privatization not happened that each and every citizen would be wealthy as a result of potash revenue.

Prior to privatization our potash industry was a losing proposition and a bit player. Since privatization its success has put Saskatchewan on the map and reaped billions in royalty revenue for the people of Saskatchewan. At that time, every citizen could purchase $100.00 bonds that later converted into 5 PCS shares, if you opted to do so. It would be interesting to track what each of those $20.00 shares would be worth today, after several splits, for those having the wisdom to hold on to them. Hmmm, time to check Granny's portfolio.

Obviously BHP Billiton did its homework. It impresses in its offering that PCS headquarters would remain in Saskatoon and its commitment to community involvement. Up until a few years ago all CEOs and Presidents of PCS honoured this understanding by residing in Saskatoon and running the corporation from Saskatchewan. The current President/CEO, almost immediately after being appointed, returned with his family to Chicago. All senior executives have offices in Chicago and US work visas. Although PCS maintains an office here, it appears the decision making is out of Chicago.

In years gone by, PCS was very visible in Saskatoon, supporting charity events and donating dollars to worthwhile causes. Although PCS still donates within Saskatchewan, it is primarily to the U of S (a good thing) and some inner city programing (another good thing.) But the many causes that depended on PCS support in years gone by no longer enjoy this support.

I suspect not a whole lot will change if the takeover is successful. BHP will still need miners and local managers. But potash revenue may increase.

So it raises the question of how far off last year's provincial budget projections really were. Globally, PCS is considered a small shop. It has very little control of potash sales globally. As I understand it potash revenues dropped because larger players undersold the product. Interesting.

My biggest concern now is whether I should sell my few shares now or hold on and hope for a higher price. If past performance is an indicator of future performance I will probably adhere to my "buy high, sell low" practice.


  1. With a Premier with no experience in the private sector it is not that shocking.

  2. Anon 8/19,2010 2:08
    Hello!!!!did you just wake-up from a rather long coma. What possible influence could the premiere have on this except for that obscure buy back clause.

  3. If he has no influence why is he in the press talking about it?


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