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Compass Minerals International (CMP)

Participants
Theresa Womble Director of IR
Kevin Crutchfield CEO
Jamie Standen CFO
Brad Griffith Chief Commercial Officer
George Schuller COO
Mark Connelly Stephens Inc.
Christopher Parkinson Credit Suisse
David Kwon Deutsche Bank
Jeff Zekauskas JPMorgan
Vincent Anderson Stifel
David Silver CL King
Tom Glinski Goldman Sachs
Joel Jackson BMO Capital Markets
Call transcript
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Operator

Good day everyone, and welcome to the Compass Minerals Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference. Today's conference is being recorded.

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Ms. Theresa Womble, Director of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, ma’am.

Theresa Womble

morning. good and you Thank strategic Today our Compass and Standen review some CFO; outlook Kevin fourth quarter Crutchfield, key as Minerals' well results XXXX, Jamie and for will as CEO; items. full our year Also they George Commercial and Officer; Chief Schuller available be call for on Griffith, our our and prepared today remarks. the Brad our Operating are Officer; will Chief questions following

the remind meaning turn can date based call today's the These found forward-looking filings, SEC over you me online actual of uncertainties that to in that the at let contain XXXX. and cause located today's I Litigation Before investors.compassminerals.com. statements on Securities February Kevin, within as of risks Private of involve results expectations risks discussion Reform and may discussion be XX, XXXX A to the differ Act our company's the materially. Company's are statements could these of

are Our remarks provide include measures, understanding non-GAAP a financial today we also our and conditions. our important full operating to of businesses feel which

can measures earnings our or in at of in presentation, also these find both reconciliations release earnings investors.compassminerals.com. which our are You of available

out to I'll call way, of Kevin. housekeeping now the turn that With the over

Kevin Crutchfield

broadly financial strategic direction. I'd everyone. to Thanks, good evaluation company's the some continued Theresa of before and morning, thoughts and for providing start summarizing today XXXX, like results by our operational on our

a been evaluation of Compass challenges, has year Minerals. and This recovery for

EBITDA, the operating in and full improvements for quarter the substantial delivered earnings business salt year. XXXX both Our fourth and

in costs a salt prices, increased salt was Goderich improved full production selling results, The in year fourth both the year XXXX generated and and our results improvement improvement While the by average nutrition lower mine. combination businesses modest quarter. at primarily driven of lagged plant full

the as demand fall Nutrition were sales recovered only that to America, conditions, a EBITDA, XXXX SOP reported weakened. the and X% lost North micronutrients poor early year in weather partially in dip Plant in

remained price and our Pond-only lower at volumes achieved strong were production XXXX, steady SOP we XXXX, compared facility. While SOP-only versus to Utah our

channel. America ultimately was by crop South delivered purchase growers Nutrition that that higher pressured our than On Salt XX% above Plant Plant being trade uncertainty, with in and agriculture growth strength boosted Nutrition direct-to-grower the Even about full results. in in earnings EBITDA agriculture we the Our consolidated business a pressure, XX%, inputs. business basis, offset sales our double-digit less year operating more and likely XXXX value to weakness, resulted

course, tell XXXX of numbers these only part a our story. financial Of

we impact and performance in As Mine call, produced at very the improve approximately tons and production compared to we've mine more cost last per a reduced XXXX positive. year-over-year by results, Goderich discussed significant engaged on our basis, unit XX%. efforts we've XX% our XXXX to the quarterly has in been On

in fully function of those expect of we with too, nowhere again Importantly potential output change long-term improvements, along another two years with in cost XXXX, near the commensurate to step the Even close Goderich. we're reductions.

done of these team very achieve I'm at results. has Goderich work proud the the to

anomalies geological basic of the cutting as to we're size and needed Some salt exploration areas. highest ensure using the the map recently we've includes, techniques, very purity this encountered, and adjust in

mining to have improve there, a diligently finding productive which in undergoing we relationship larger assembly And, employees unit opportunities the once should in overall our also underground, efficiencies. now problems early operating quarter. our actively who We've are further now greater it's second involved improve worked with for solutions new to capability, continuous commissioned and

them for the then XX and still downtime, incident. Blanche XXXX out unplanned to hit Mine call mine our their and those In unfortunate safety a days for strong targets, experienced as Cote to also overcoming in results difficult total, Louisiana production achieving from direct well, and met despite I'd like a we're hurricane, circumstances. contractor grateful of

we for performance Utah costs strong North Ogden, in Plant facility, achieve lastly, quarter and has America lower Nutrition which to for production And the year. resulted our maintain the pond-based the margin segment at the excellent SOP business, of continued and helped

fourth highest sales XXXX second of quarter Compass. was for fact, the on In the quarter record

We've also sift past, determine worked our as the competencies. where months, refer strengths MRI the all Minerals, lie deeply to of as over through true and identify been this to core delivered company. aspects our of In past sorts, of evaluating business the several Compass layers we've I our a to

things into of sharp focus couple this have come process. throughout A

on uniquely Salt a most First, to primarily to history but throughout Minerals, the critical company. succeed company continues need the flagship We're operational of mining, fell positioned in team leadership accentuated mining be failed the Goderich. and technical to particularly investments mining short to This and our industry, Compass experience. expectations, of deep execute its and has some our of strengthen been at has

Minerals to Operations Officer; Compass last addition the existing at we the expertise me various fully on who joined and we've organization as out our as as May, of Chief needs additional future will talent well I And that apparent. call Schuller, the levels in George throughout I numerous Since to operations. build with decades continue become the today, our mining in continued of experience expect others joins bring to augment mining the

has here deal enterprise. where a we Mine, across particular, since before, what that a being untapped set In Compass the of I've privileged Goderich our of potential. assets As said Minerals see I've is found great

by a working operate best business will as foresight mining underground, the our and present succeed utilizing with or to Having partners, the other themselves, view be able course assets taking to practices. closely correct longer-term how when geological employees, to these on with are. challenges they We

talented, culture The muscle this. People committed the Compass a different and passionately success, people its this is consistent but finding key to Minerals environment call second for needs are of strengthened. necessary be A and to extremely things. many execution

et operational performance cetera. culture, Our excellence,

in I say it we're "Doing do." going rather simple think about terms, we what to

ideas our every promises, every where have to if optimization better discussing enterprise-wide all is And ideas deliver build program heard, that's across drive supported. and other routinely results are new entire words, on We're November business began matters, is working successfully are a the ownership we to implemented. those where what culture voice about. culture where we cases, the strong In platform, of voice in

from purely improved and XXXX. improved we organization. a addition in this to we engagement fostering the for operating while delivering effort is run a to end material, In improvements to the need expect XXXX, perspective, throughout that From improvements expect efforts of EBITDA financial across success. to incremental skills also the significantly that All driving the reach machine the begin company, needed the rate supporting and build execution these long-term financial

not ideas from the and best, to is get believe based and is I compelling on ideas the have what's ownership the these bottom clear, a based an us on from hundreds aspirational from team, of work that Out who driving plan lot and people. this those built in improvement importantly, they expected or directly leadership me, with go top business of implementing of potential opportunities a business solicited a outcomes. up, the most is cases And our this initiatives be senior know we're instead, improvements. down want me, those

from initiative our should us that have for One interesting near-term an example came team of at Goderich. benefits

for create produce, in salt Our rock some a fine to tendency the continuous put we can mining customers. have which of us particles machines specification out

makes mine. of a bid a those it never result, out of the fines As good

will mine a compact team into at product. to We the have compaction a these harvest adding that them fines, underground saleable be unit and

at by least that potential Given already Goderich the salt at to been annual also increase mining cost the project high has the production percentage cost and digit the of has points, incurred, overall Mine. this lower single

In Mine cost to the current about implementation, per than unit reduce cash full pay by fact, X%, we cost this at Goderich expect less after rates. project in modest our and year, operating a back CapEx

these year. because enterprise. Compass We in entire expect high about the system also will but because to headed, financial optimization it our drive quarter that excited just with a this stronger invigorate not will engagement of this and improve I customers build in efforts employee better have third are Minerals, experience have confidence it results, I'm the where place

a our and communities. with customers, we best to Finally, position the to Compass our Minerals continue leadership team shareholders, ways to deliver employees to value as and Board, evaluate long-term

a have As determine review capabilities. forward business, it part this fits if process, strengths of strategic to and going our begun South American how of with and we our core

low immense can by minerals cost and essential uses on efficient we serving and businesses, believe establishing difficult success in achieve assets, salt core a through focusing as and distribution. production We to with replicate SOP mining our leading ourselves company

value. partner While, the the are very Brazil manufacture and we unlock long-term we're full specialty assessing products its chemical and to We're sell Plant drive its success whether attractive in right businesses. and Nutrients

America South the The best strategic future for us on execute forward business, flexibility give priorities. our Nutrition review to optimal help our path and determine strategic Plant will

could ability to result outcomes, our and potentially to complement a salt the our many variety businesses. significantly of a in and returns selectively with which much core in generate put reduce of better shareholders, long-term additional provide debt, us to position and process strategically The us should SOP

several priorities have we Completing this critical evaluation is one XXXX. of in

balance also improve we me you've continue our we've say focused potential, operational these optimization commercial deliver sheet to addition, work from In internal on seen help our we metrics. improvements Executing heard the to program. the will in before, and remained operations, and in our full areas delivering us our as benefits steadfastly

to all key improve simple results sites. addressing to incidents, but behaviors, this, our will Last, a important. hazards with working the of by be much our opportunities work and we safety harm. imperative, at certainly, We culture row for In safety doing and more carefully risks our reduce

where to continue focused as responsibility all will stewards responsible employees resources. of likewise on We communities our partners we live And environmental also serve our the to that our work. ensure be of and to we're

successfully conclude on call I this. but strong a XXXX, let turn put the I'm believe path firm a for to just are is me more over place journey, ahead for we to We to there increasing a before stakeholders. and confident end for value work saying by Jamie, in us to to had So, much of the Compass well Minerals and our this beyond. XXXX have positioned all we stronger navigate team

will and greater now Jamie? outlook. Jamie results our provide financial on detail

Jamie Standen

average Kevin, our X% higher Fourth quarter selling and Thanks, XXXX results. growth, start of Salt a X% good X% X prices. results, I'll revenue on segment everyone. volume year review with Slide from prior salt morning, increased

Looking may average quarter XX% highway reported parts fourth little volume American deicing light first results our XXXX of in We products average deicing performance. selling X% sales the we volumes sales levels. highway market. above higher a price experienced These North at winter, for our seem our from increased and given

winter in North results UK improved of due than declined However, the XX% weather, our America. to sales which warm more a portion offset

dip products X%, sales Our year-over-year product Consumer quarter results, XXXX driver and primary the Industrial change volumes X% in average a the from was these for fourth prices selling mix grew while sales decline. for

because lower example, we which salt. our For of improvements, year, a of price in water proportion this a average selling of sold product some Goderich conditioning product higher like other categories Mine bulk-salt has

Salt segment earnings respectively. The a XX% and in XX% both as growth and generated operating significant whole, EBITDA,

to lifting and $XX improved prior million, unit year XXXX were approximately by addition quarter prices, impact. In selling impacted Goderich earnings, costs fourth per lower negatively salt results related strike

comments to to Before since continuous results, we've some I'd XX%, entire is beyond transitioning that the Goderich salt full segment salt the turning strong since for at of that to better EBITDA like Goderich. is and third the not on the the that the just note executing we're highest highest and at a mining margin year quarter Mine, business, at indication This across XXXX. haulage achieved a

in year, more salt Remember, improvement results, XXXX our impacted volumes. prices, from driven volumes lower first-half sales than salt offset X% a selling full which X% the sales a revenue in average decline X% combination increased commitments were for by For primarily XXXX the XX% and increased favorable and driven geographic deicing sales sales improved from increased Operating price, industrial season. grew a highway XXXX earnings deicing consumer and of highway bid sales EBITDA volumes. mix results, XX% XXXX-XXXX by by

impact. I'll Plant weather Before results, Nutrition moving the review winter to on

weather early season expected quarter fourth average as from to a and weather the benefit warm to combination did have volumes in what any sales snows, close not generate. the of winter kept UK, report would For we average above been

million $XX million For year, winter. $X above to sales, to operating million the $XX benefit we lift, million and average from full reported a $XX of in earnings in

X, North Slide Nutrition fourth sales year-over-year primarily driven America reported lower XX% in decline the volumes. Turning revenue, by quarter a segment to Plant

sales they company the quarter, history. volumes we prior As below note still XX% they this although quarter slide, the were on quite volumes represent second and robust, in highest in were the fourth year sales fact,

of earnings compared due fourth qualities cost quarter continued Despite growth generated is X% resilience demonstrate the segment the in SOP as to highly This well was in increase of and in production cycle. compared correlated as the prior pricing, which crop a XXXX primarily business, SOP economic to EBITDA results. particularly revenue, lower increase this in SOP, year. row a attractive regard This, this our to in XXXX operating per-unit XXXX, we the delivered X% improvement to not to

year, full volumes, EBITDA, These declined American markets. X% weather lost primarily earnings and Nutrition first-half and as lower reduced America results in the respectively. when the operating sales wet the was applications the For declines sales business unable recoup to cold North volumes fertilizer and Plant North of XXXX, from XX%

sales performance. businesses in South America currency growth our these to review Slide is quarter volumes in segment from best both generated I'll increased of average underlying primarily results, revenue X% fourth the compared the higher Chemical discuss a results, results Fourth as and sales. solution Nutrition on prior local sales treatments this on XX% water We due selling rise Plant results lower volumes XXXX price prices. XXXX The to year XX. measure quarter

fourth versus results. products, operating earnings decline XXXX by price versus The with selling favor mix XX%, product quarter a by applied XX% XXXX shift That distribution product X% lower was in versus results. average favorable nutrients. XXXX and partially sales volumes respectively, for partially soil through driven quarter and sales earnings shift fourth of mix EBITDA and full-year and lower of both our Agriculture were sales was

segment growth from EBITDA earnings to topline due soil delivered declined, and product levels, this BXB year-over-year X% our chlor-alkali product sales XXXX For largely year, to operating lower the but full and both customers, prices.

for sales agriculture portion of also direct-to-grower and effectively where adoption for rates products. innovative increased We can value we continued personnel the more higher in our our invest drive to the more business,

Despite as full agriculture to XX% global follows agriculture XXXX XXXX the see environment, this from from strong in year a continue these investments, We XXXX returns direct-to-grower XXXX. revenue results. local about our increased on currency increase XX% challenging to

for metrics business provided outlook our XX. are key Some segments on Slide

ultimately revenues of salt back-half First-half improved XXXX. be will cost weighted to benefit heavily be segment the prices, our XXXX to activity. by salt expected salt from Remember, benefits winter determined are as primarily weather will volumes

The assuming XXXX. XXXX, Plant were the expected segment elevated end segment that SOP typical weather note see normalized timing of conditions some the in and toward Nutrition of micronutrients, shift which to sales America in more inventories North quarter. our is We demand for could customer this at the second

South part for of typically slow the the first-half demand. In is America, year the agriculture the of year

nice we expecting sales Although, distribution. are a rebound agriculture through of

anticipate treatment in also to volume. business will deliver continue solutions chemical that water our sales growth We

tons. to million with salt our rebuild full XX and We expected and sales to XXXX continue XX. provide year and imports overview replace are volumes corporate of on our items as our by we an segment, Full year volumes be Goderich inventories Slide XX.X between million tons,

remainder of we the full our winter, year accordingly. will update bid volume progress season, this upcoming As guidance through we in the

and excluding as as depreciation amortization, expense well corporate based other stock noncash compensation guiding are expenses. and We

also compensation from we believe We as excluding way this view better generating is the EBITDA adjusted be capabilities of company. cash stock a will the our based to results,

of Our about CapEx related, rapid payback $XX that our estimated to to for elevated XXXX million million efforts, mine as are spending. efficiency is part $X investments million optimization to spend capital periods, as of as modestly we new results, well with development projects from $XX plan enterprise-wide

higher XX%, year which than We effective XXXX. our tax around come estimate XXXX to in rate, full is

have in of of As Brazil, improvement year-over-year which the and our rates Canada U.S. higher tax portion both than earnings be a large will

million, much million improvements in to with some enterprise-wide $XXX the optimization year impact in does include EBITDA meaningful full range a from more and $XXX Our XXXX, of XXXX XXXX.

did Last, on not to free free cash the year targeted to We cash our our I'd results reasons. range flow flow touch couple a like for of reach and outlook. full due

increases, fourth lower driven we some of sales. to inventories, by XXXX capital SOP increased spending than expected was with this quarter addition In portion ended

in In to salt position serve during strong some puts quarter. incremental us the excellent first us our inventories, our efficiently to Mine which allowed addition, Goderich production build markets

our For million, $XX further offset $XX $XX IRS partially increase as all XXXX, build we segments our by across million improved noted. assault tax inventories million outstanding and by cash results to flow expect free by and collection to driven refund, a higher spending, capital of previously

our today. of guidance on as All is business our based exists it

specific of increased of Well, optimization efforts and business realized fundamentals, of the guidance we to benefits, report both We benefits throughout the impacts agriculture as on efforts, profitability occur are to in are expectation from providing the financial XXXX. better planning expected the very and of they the given The North we're South year quarters salt optimistic expected the and coming not our these back-half ahead, years. America. about initial are our in the are

in ratio, leverage that, combination drive improvement the debt well operator With ratio earnings begin EBITDA, Operator? our expect and and below Q&A a sheet times I'll session. leverage Finally, of debt to the regard to our through we during to ask four balance XXXX, to now reduction.

Operator

Thank Instructions] first [Operator from with you. Here, Stephens. today Connelly Mark

Mark Connelly

be are reasonable consistent to in And, is we And a in Kevin, this the Last expect, that, of lumpier will we Thanks. us that that? you we're hear some lot the heavy said give about quarter, is near seasonality, that should or improvement, to think and we Can clear the salt nowhere improvement said about year-over-year how than you where progression? potential. given opportunities you the it today going business. sense more

Kevin Crutchfield

think I Mark. Now, a look, it's progression

up was XX% As about I we 'XX but end mean, to always Goderich mean, talked I about, 'XX. it Goderich, we talking up

after this a we start progression think but to We year. as integrate this XX% begin mine it'll new the equipment, as new I plan. And, steady expect a to while, XX% up we we'll increase implementing level another be

will think I've a before run at market And served it we before, I invisible lot Goderich. as looking from in. probably salt outside steady the capability a run of in of it said of think out frankly, But progression. our be, out will areas be will I

Mark Connelly

in Okay. you at margin step in went And good just the help understand performance quarter, and operating were surprised this whether this a you question size SOP, asset? see us Nutrition the Can as of right a that improvement what there. on know, a we you by is or change Plant

Kevin Crutchfield

think, I year, start of job the an controlling mean, running the I to a well. Yes, costs doing excellent kind of kudos despite out team there slow to input and

the potash it's of of anguish talked finishing and able of saw grow we firm on initiatives the control quarter strong, the to we've it team the to even controlling year especially that a that rest the function maintain Some of but all across internal very about, improvement the the phase of in price We and that were costs and the for year. margins industry. kudos hold the in fourth really

was So, it nice finish. a

Mark Connelly

Very I'll good. come back. Thanks.

Kevin Crutchfield

you. Thank

Operator

from Credit next hear Christopher Parkinson Suisse. We'll with

Christopher Parkinson

the slide, core on color of preliminary months offer the where views adjacency portfolio a Great, thank mentioned Thank evolution as you initial be? more want you. Can an priorities just strategies. to your well little out, you. you XX evolutionXX, see competencies any including your XX, you In sheet on of strategic as in balance you how thoughts

Kevin Crutchfield

enterprise. and I after three delivering priorities on from that say across me standpoint, our top Goderich Look, the consistently a Sure. it's then full the you've think potential pretty are that, priority heard

work a existing lot across to lot platform. have upside potential of just there of a do, we So, the

team, to to review get distracted. want one. a in assets, our set focus time. really assets, of going Brazil we strategic our great up areas of great not concentrate that's really, those job and two we've of really take then that's course, announced So, And And

time to team But, think longer-term core to formulation to start sometime the of what process in frame. of existing on Board, the in I in of the strategic ready plan, adjacency midyear, that will which maybe and I phase work we'd this now think senior advantage like strategies as kind look referenced be and towards at third competencies, talking and management a begin to last part the that start call about, about do of quarter take

do on. for We've set think a But focused got priorities fulsome create what and respect there's to that amount then platform, opportunity with process hands that, for want to I the running and on forth across improvement anybody. We of to not internal we thorough stay extraordinary we is distraction the just full an Brazil. want with our

Christopher Parkinson

MOP, Great. a And just real to some bit see just you a do crop better the alternatively, 'XX crops. given in MOP versus little versus quick When it follow-up. economics price specialty off comes this but evolving pressure, as SOP seem premium how

about So, more value strategy, in terms us color of just forward? give Thank your little how you're price thinking a you you. for on going can this

Kevin Crutchfield

Yes.

turn But, and correlation MOP over that Brad very belief at we has there's guess, sitting damage address look with been I the and content. of who guess me. because plants price overtime, need no there's correlation. via I'll or just here chloride the So, between I rig level at is SOP. then the There a expert, at the potentially a works, a high that the structure damaging is SOP, it that And MOP to there when pricing. which some they SOP need

we value knows, for dominant our marketplace, we products. And, have fair position think and very in that ask everybody we as a

Ogden that. cost, Now, vegetables to stay of that. more a that to folks that's on value for plants for fed we And price color, I'd sensitive to good Brad need price more of the the their focused that well, the MOP is vis-à-vis But, kind you believe the supply get is stuff. that our augment with around look the to are into continue where little some to are margin price But run is. competition SOP strategy little as fair

Brad Griffith

customers, that bullish. great of in little No, you I XXXX. know, general, of And are conclusion think certainly the saw XXXX And retail category we in as comments, Kevin. Christopher, bit are at those bullishness fertilizer a the

has SOP price, remained the in year. the prior the specifically of challenges our around year, pricing steady in some contrast, despite versus So, throughout NPKs

that question is your premium to willing why? around growers are There pay. that think I

free premium we there's chloride overlooked, As the really Kevin certainly also sulfur said, it. is But there is that think. as call component the I

of You metabolism. XX Kevin that K remember, It's production parts for a mentioned. and number component critical of and for is crops is parts rating And chlorophyll S. responsible of nitrogen a XXXX the sulfur also our

absence in, down as get the you're going as can in you good, much the and put of So, not to benefits. agronomic

I on crops price, in see And look crops in their too think when almonds, think view right held held, it's at specialty producers in they've year-over-year that I particular. you specialty now held volumes. of of it's in terms terms

as So, quite in-use doing are category customers well in our specialty the well.

Christopher Parkinson

great It’s you. a color. Thank

Operator

next we'll Bank, Deutsche From hear Begleiter. from David

David Kwon

you're this Can to that is of And improvement noticed your the year? here, there? guess, source you take Hey, talk realize Kwon I the David priorities about Slide on the areas commercial Dave. talk largest is to I of of the just kinds X, all you about your second improvement. Can focus plan for actions you for what first aligned. each also

Kevin Crutchfield

for Yes, just moment. think was heard; I I there our a volume suffering

example content I in heard there out underground FOB it's benefit operating of the from to improve - and of cost do good most material the almost at of I pay be mine to and on able think, a the all the fines obviously, to but, the full I compaction get left think side already We've incurred price it Goderich of to term to gave better it at previously that one examples you pretty the turn on it we the I underground of is it, product. to compact the the into a and mine. question have realize that royalty

side. the example on real the examples I of one So, good a think of operating logistics that's

product initiatives the again and difficult I and we to to we and the some we've it's that talked maximizing around think, and lake road of that save that water miles, before, can move place some want a fairly that and the trying piece rail internal as underway don't much optimize think last we we hauls over hauls, around say most is all amount underway. we about got around minimize got just money. I sensitive, initiatives fair but too over

commercial, just that's at the there, commercial market, around here we continue in market then And it cost a relates have which, side to market the target as have I as operate. low long-term of lot we're up. our profile in back way we're for of we to tons bunch guess opportunities the where become a there's Goderich import we terms the supplier cost on path And on as in look on just is, served I it of sloshing going swing our to to expand ramp it reach, a the their given served think Goderich they to a

we think commercial that's and opportunity kind the we that there's the there of lot call So, of areas opportunity. a would one of

David Kwon

any operational in would driven Do you expect Great. And see half? by guidance improvement one seeing second primarily mentioned or primarily the first-half just I guess, a EBITDA to in that salt for second you be the first-half, pricing.

Kevin Crutchfield

underground units It's we quarter. we'll assembled. second and I we'll see ask new take underground get earlier on here we now a see step see, function unit change a that see it. and No. move long-term unit I'll the to step change we'll function of We'll when as roadways. when one salt mentioned But But the our to him into in George comment start improvement, is being the new and developing other steady a

the in get of So, see pushing going kind you'll of and of all inventory I cost out higher flushed year. in the about the start some zip XXXX we've comfortably just to first-half, flattish that talked think back-half be work of for code improvement in salt cost think of will we to good we be terms cost through but XX% And we've we year as talked system, three margins, that handle be and and of previously. in we're terms which in that

of to like side the add you'd on Goderich? productive think You just George,

George Schuller

Yes, Kevin. thanks,

Again, I going think mechanize comments, strong coming to reduce variability We're in to operational is as mining. we we a that opportunities. to see strongest here. good three without maybe we're operational production. probably you through again, very operational since walk couple highlighted just off through improvement. there a do you there, I months trying that went probably go excellence, that Kevin, our or quarter, think, workforce the the the

and So, we're an year. think production continue team through again, to the day-to-day, as token, that do I be we week-to-week, month-to-month, same go by more Goderich it'll And, up doing the in improvement that with second-half group loaded, see job. incredible but going that

you. see So, we'll think Thank continue I to effort. that

David Kwon

Thank you.

Operator

with Zekauskas JPMorgan. Jeff onto Moving

Jeff Zekauskas

February or weather year-over-year about Thanks conditions very talk Can much. versus up you snowfall your or longer-term XX and until averages? through January

Kevin Crutchfield

I benefit. maybe about February's January Brad a have to the here to soft, Obviously, of of bad think, a Jamie winter I the bit end pretty - little our fair, a think terms good year too, I in overall, was to normal, and about think the it off and average, characterize you'd but average is above Yes, I season little but Brad? through start, was that mean

Brad Griffith

is. It

Kevin Crutchfield

Yes, control going do can we'll to going so weather to it's we're open do. for and is but what the control, what we

Jeff Zekauskas

I South assets a be you of about the or America of Can strategy forward. think Nutrient North minerals? rather of bit in or strategically more little your change, mining you going your strategic of America? that a company salt talked Nutrient sale assets more mean in Does sort you're owning wanting more? elaborate bentonite to other the South American American interested And terms North Okay. exploring business. not than And, Why business,

Kevin Crutchfield

at asset. about really I internal and timing with we're the it, there, towards run right team and process. South say fulsome the or to and that's think just down not And process and going ultimately, asset with Board going respect to and again, we're the that I'm as anything And question to our external all It keep for outcome a the with look, what fulsome great negativity might no Yes, I a whether be, advisors. going we're really is. everybody the to progresses. a run posted team our owner America, we'll

we that are if there to not about we on it, what look, be it at assets, worth deliver conversation. end the than else But, execution standpoint, any somebody we're can day, of down when a comes our an to they from ought the they're more think to to emotional of

value fair I any scenario. in the think that's proposition

move to you said, ahead, like company. I about mining So, a just maybe, think becoming what as would we I correct

we mining think a company. I are

going transport not imply kind I and restoring a still way minerals right forward. to I think lost what basis. to key for to think be think want operational we of it's might is a day-by-day about always our I are those might be, we have and But going essential excellence our a market there on mine, premature. strategy we're don't historically company, that mining while. been, ability to our or And materials now, how

fulsome But earlier, by executing very a again, value I just of on as said our potential delivering We've our be running a created internally is lots on full American internally. South and that can thoughtful and focus got focusing process.

the that's focus. So, near-term

Jeff Zekauskas

Great. Thank much. you so

Kevin Crutchfield

welcome. are You

Operator

We will hear next from Vincent Stifel. Anderson with

Vincent Anderson

and the on has up kind year these I of and just assets of the timing now, Goderich efforts. improvement been mean, until aren't to best, exiting review. focus dig wanted into the thanks. companywide Yes, on the your I strategic the

With aggressively the did interest already you the decide plan before at it assessment to cost to some undertaking large more Goderich is mine? you or deleverage and pretty you've of want your that significant scale change maybe that look received new that timing,

Kevin Crutchfield

view. with great with at great want options with from in strategic you timing, to a asset, any to planning respect Yes, I what a And very quickly exploring it's value interest have going to it's Goderich. absolutely the we're I It's has Brazil market. dissuade to respect notion our do of would in decision a think point that to nothing of

you have things able a for want extra of an bit not not cause be expense be to been clear to to that will looking because of will spend I inside that But in still absorb the at little be that be working the we mill. through mine of new mill. will of asset to the from plan far reuse the able pretty exception associated invisible and at the largely mine able I've we it. could to with cost we utilize so previously outside, our guidance, money, given with We're them are Goderich CapEx but the something think that, to the sell and pay plan,

cash able will to flow. comfortably, our within of that be We bounds existing the handle

between connection no none. the there's So two. Absolutely

Vincent Anderson

good great. to Alright, It's hear.

while SOP been capacity, the marginal But for above grow Just switching a beyond the And in addressed consumer. you the to gears, of and this flex strategy have that that's has targeting was try now kind into to capacity. SOP earlier. pond that existing been generally by

and you back today, you regards XXXX fight those do for at market to So, spreads you're these that and right do share going bit? now, to to say continue prices or at dial with look specifically spreads a MOP the are with whereas

Brad Griffith

its Good, question. Brad. Vincent, Hey,

is exclusive to I I look SOP their source if be we think source We not at the to it domestically. their primary serve of of need way one, our number customers. SOP, need

And going product our our so, management delivers and to customers accounts, team, our account when that logistics and on matters. key needs where we're of our our it the and ensure team, focus

conversations, heard aspect You've and in me the of also talk prior about calls pricing dynamically.

to will price We dynamically. continue

to the of States intend strength have hemisphere are and in for United share matter. only the in this USMCA, we in we producer and that We that and maintain the SOP the

what's a our what that's put opportunities. unlock specialty more crops, MOP, crops. So, that that additional these listen, to think is it say way Vincent together number one, about intelligence as to share. going continues to continue agronomy. research that trials win across and as team we intelligence I And we very agronomic of the on that's get And, to And pertains solid I'd competitive

market Honeycrisp on Honeycrisp for ability a one precise. been not us you just become It's the the we really focused that the of crop in a SOP that's weeks chain. But be the difference apples to around really for apples for I'll give aware entire potential specialty apples, and grocery of recent in supply the side makes grocery dramatic waste and business. and

We're continue and what really when understand continue potassium business. and that's the expand we're to agronomy and to specialty for SOP customers going we're going to going our to our do. So

Vincent Anderson

you. helpful. very That's Thank

Operator

hear next We will from David Silver with CL King.

David Silver

of much. a cokes more think of kind a other I strategies your but facility. coming had I thanks angle. a maybe has had period it a differential cost, low, Yes, at pond ponds I high other based mentioned, alternative, or you. the as asset? the that the and pond to those cokes SOP company ton more Over know, question a to is people I of steps value value some improve based of have potential And, time, tons about the don't exceptionally longer feeling big Thank either, of was from the tons given what low between to this do maybe different business, that out out invest very number to in of

Jamie Standen

efficiency improve about say made, back I of we would significant based facility is and you XXXX-XX, Jamie. increase investments XXX,XXX is to production And us the really the enabled what tons is which in pond that in this of know, the tons David, capacity, capacity capacity. to total XXX,XXX which there. have

used So, to we lower much XXX. be be we level, at a used to

now So, we're XXX.

next of a ponds, road. increase In the add implementation we would decision do that's to have grow be a over capacity, KCL which an hard amount go would Brad, capacity order ability to down of new Because the to cost to of it three want we're just using years, our the significant that? XXX, to five working that into costs. a the the significant to input, take capital for pond to as you and in acres base

David Silver

Okay.

Brad Griffith

you? Brad it's are David Griffith, how

David Silver

Good.

Brad Griffith

could, that, XXXX to year. we production tell ton Jamie's more based be XXXX what, to pond like know production tons", it phrase But ton pertains those I record record were to on as and use your I like a XXXX going "cokes pond if you might I'm that. comments I I And expect years. pond based

of XXX,XXX at that we the our on is played ton range. absolutely Jamie while So, assets, in that it's correct, say spec would kind when look we

in And team however, they that. correct both quick do do to been feel Ogden, to us. going we're like they Our has more can and them of let

going So, let do I'm not on I'm head. put and what well. prove us can their to going to a to George them as they number

grower to would to like its and the And work Ogden we're and need. mineral about, is, that in is continue an that position enterprise-wide pertains going hemisphere, days, early additional What if a from I that spoken the while applications is K provider helps. asset to operations it specialty of optimization on had in Kevin say have intersection advantaged plan innovation this Ogden we our there

David Silver

these own aside, would other that time. on been I've stealing feel as Yes. to just news. anything long calls from a an No, that's feel free great. decent for your And for I say guys the

with over be assuming authorities. if that's And words, I on you wondering, kind Just was you're But that of question paid could resource receive has that. is the might to or maybe dispute refunds, a taxes, do be from just one of ton admit characterize and the of other going which I'm other this it In production to million to the per Canadian basis. settled settlement wonky. guess $XX I that's I due that been a

any assessments there taxes basis say, where settlement? And other But, the other to changed just implications this again, XXXX, be the you. will assumption, in dispute? were on that your your are XXXX, such what longer-term In In going forward resource you words, settlement? basis that the Thank should for that's before I'm assessments recently. we a assigning or charged there implications structurally more from at way cost based words, let's that structural coming an there some relative that are other for in or model being efficiency lower in

Jamie Standen

David. that, try that to I'll Thanks, summarize I'll take quickly.

back terms won So, We price a this dispute. goes that between the our Canada. to of and dispute in transfer U.S.

refund. to we're And getting to XXXX had and XXXX. during just Canada taxes now revenue I'm our in now we U.S. - 'XX back pay So, sorry,

that's million that's previously. happened settlement So, that from $XX a

and the in So is Canada? only relates accounted? our it be it as the to was what system Is tax the was, impact to profit around American North where where down Salt is or So, it in it that U.S. rate. in Salt, deicing the comes pricing transfer does will highway the profit

around It's below all The in the part guidance terms can it's that. for So, that our XX%. of rate see that already line. in embedded of XXXX, tax you right

would further we implication no there's expect. So,

Operator

Bob to Koort. move we'll Sachs, from next Goldman And

Tom Glinski

is everyone. Hi, Tom on Bob. Glinski This for

next priorities would capital and first you maybe scenario? allocation, year America just what if South in $XXX be Could $XXX that million you sell free walk business. say to the assume that in capital we million So cash on allocation your through generate

Kevin Crutchfield

And you to mean, at you level. much proceeds we around at don't speculate that sheet, large expect certainly to Anything to want did I the arrive to speculate I use et cash, whether to as Yes, warehouse the with from of those would a can there, a delever about least cetera. a that let divest that of hit portion I But, would decision mean, America allocation, want will South add to deleveraging too you'd discussion the the end we and proper balance that, Brazil, me it have extent high divesting conclusion. at the if prepayable the have list. be side. we share the Board But the the we the to repurchase make at to we to then like clearly, did top up Jamie?

Jamie Standen

No, it sounds great.

Tom Glinski

interest second on expense guidance. then the And

XXXX. so through this moving or walk and that here the that you plus perhaps a if just question, from $XX expense is you XXXX implies additional of bit Could Sorry, you it this borrowing? Thanks. expect a parts minor million to if of year-over-year appears interest expect but

Kevin Crutchfield

issued No, is the expense back primary driver interest bonds we that there related November. the incremental the in to

interest So $XXX with was million rate than they carry debt new the debt. financed we've short-term bank higher previously a that and bonds got

$XXX So, It our past of really pushed by and our XXXX. out tenor boosted about that transaction liquidity maturities million. extended our all

Operator

Jackson We'll Markets. Joel to Capital move next with BMO

Joel Jackson

Can to you know, Can XXXX-XX look you you at don’t if cost? But production a for Goderich and where at started transitioning in compare is before at Thanks. XXXX, Goderich the to is what that were be right drama mining? were, comp lots XXXX at going continuous that us give I sense Hi, you of reasons. good of, morning. when the you high term obviously,

Kevin Crutchfield

But, off the couldn't first that, ago? started unit top three I the we of my do really, guess, what certainly years M head. I there

George Schuller

We've while. miner a development had for to

George Schuller

low XXXX think look get we look would XXXX And and at $XX be would we'll in level. a improvements efficiency to back there. ton, that and make $XX down XXXX-XX the range say you production back when improve running to then said it I I cash process our in as to cost, take continue Yes, you to expectation down to

Kevin Crutchfield

That's cost, a fully loaded noncash.

George Schuller

salt XX cash cash I'm total around that's which C&I cost, Total includes down salt our talking. cost, business. cost No,

Joel Jackson

trying I was production. guess, I to

XXXX mark? Goderich that production years say we that Are below like three Are So, versus ago. mark? we above

Kevin Crutchfield

disclose So production. Mine we don't Goderich

Joel Jackson

Okay.

Kevin Crutchfield

We production disclose total the annually.

Joel Jackson

had So some it downtime salt guidance you're the going It winter this seen you I share. XXXX year market We average assume price about Thanks. scenario, your Maybe improvement you've you're going In say my it after in last that seemed after the average, a embedded so question that. would market seems what's be maybe good that like good could for seem I talk you year. mean season. share your this yourself, some would this like like year. from competitor. maybe

Kevin Crutchfield

the bit so for us, replenishment. is But step for displace we to importantly think importing been that need of to little ton need we've I and us the a Yes, inventory do first Joel, and we

inside anywhere served because with the insignificant not improvement. can rest then the there an we've our it's don't tonnage of compete disclosed about And amount. targeting earlier effect really that served there'll were amount as the would market. imports inside And they of a from I we profound sloshing market, margin next that the be of think that no importing, change talked that are but I around on way that us be of ever

there one is tonnage but restocking out getting for ready the importing just this do doing goal been and year we've winter our season. the opportunity that. to in that little push to So, next happen year, we all not going think Overtime, is bit of to it's

Joel Jackson

you. Thank

Operator

At I'd to remarks. back for like you turn this all time, things closing to

Theresa Womble

joining for Teresa. This Thank Thank is Kelly. our you, all you call today.

contact you Relations. any have questions follow-up please If Investor

website. You Thank Bye-bye. can our find the on contact you. information

Operator

conclude that for Thank all us. joining you conference. Again, does today's