CALGARY, Alberta -- Agrium Inc. announced today that net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2005 were $54 million, compared to net earnings of $71 million for the fourth quarter of 2004.

Net earnings for the year were an all-time record $283 million, a significant improvement over 2004 net earnings of $214 million.

Agrium said its retail business again recorded very strong results. Revenues and gross profit for all product lines, seed, application, chemicals, and fertilizers, increased. North American seed sales for the year rose 19 percent.

The company said its current all-cash offer for U.S. agricultural retailer Royster-Clark now has the support of their board of directors and major unitholders.

"We are pleased that the Royster-Clark's Board has recommended our offer to their unitholders," said Mike Wilson, Agrium president and CEO. "Our retail operations delivered impressive quarterly results and our ninth straight year of record earnings."

In addition, Wilson said, Agrium achieved two significant milestones in its specialties business in January 2006. "We acquired the Nu-Gro controlled release fertilizer and professional products businesses, and began the start-up process at our expanded ESN controlled release nitrogen facility."

SOURCE: Agrium Inc. news release via Business Wire.