CALGARY, ALBERTA -- Agrium Inc. announced today net earnings for the fourth quarter of $124 million ($0.79 diluted earnings per share), compared with the net earnings of $172-million in the fourth quarter of 2007 ($1.24 diluted earnings per share). On an annual basis, 2008 was a record year for Agrium, with net earnings of $1.3-billion ($8.34 diluted earnings per share) versus the previous record of $441-million in net earnings ($3.25 diluted earnings per share) set in 2007.

"Our fourth-quarter margins were excellent again this quarter, even with the challenges of reduced sales volumes and write-downs in inventories due to the unprecedented changes in phosphate and nitrogen prices over the past four months. We ended 2008 with earnings that were three times our previous record, and our strong balance sheet and positive earnings outlook places us in an excellent financial position for the future. Much of this success is a result of our disciplined growth strategy of diversifying across the entire agricultural value chain," said Mike Wilson, Agrium President and CEO.

"Despite the economic turmoil and uncertainty the world has been facing, we believe that 2009 will prove to be a year where Agrium can again deliver strong annual results. We believe the reduced crop nutrient use experienced over the past four months is not sustainable and that it will ultimately impact grain production and support crop prices and crop input demand. Recent growth initiatives have positioned our Wholesale, Retail, and Advanced Technologies businesses to continue to benefit from what we believe will be robust demand for crop inputs in the coming year."

SOURCE: Agrium.