Agricultural Commodities Boom Gives Potash's CEO The Last Laugh

| About: Nutrien Ltd. (NTR)
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Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT) CEO Bill Doyle could get hoarse repeating “I told you so” to all those who doubted the long dormant stock would take off like a rocket when his long-repeated promises of profit growth finally came to pass. He’s probably just as happy letting his money do the talking for him.

The profits and stock price at Potash began their dizzying ascent over three years ago; the stock is up over 600% since June 2003, and 85% so far this year.

The prospects for Potash, the world’s largest fertilizer producer, remain strong due to a prolonged boom in agricultural commodities fed largely by heightened demand in Asia.

This is good news for Potash investors and especially good news for Potash option-holders, particularly Mr. Doyle.

This year, he has cashed in 240,000 options that were due to expire for a pre-tax gain of US$15-million, locking in most of that by selling the majority of the underlying shares, according to insider trading reports. He now owns 205,716 shares, worth over $20-million.

But that’s a pittance compared to the unclaimed paper fortune he’s sitting on. According to filings, Mr. Doyle has more than 3.3-million additional options and equity incentive units granted when the stock was a fraction of its current level.

According to our calculations, if Mr. Doyle could cash in all those awards today, he’d book a pre-tax windfall of more than $220-million. He probably doesn’t mind sitting on them for the time being.