Moscow – PhosAgro (Moscow Exchange, LSE: PHOR), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers, has won the Grand Prix at the Russian Business Leaders: Dynamics and Responsibility 2019 awards held by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE).
The winner of the competition was announced during the RUIE Congress, which is the culmination of the business programme of Russian Business Weeks. The Congress was held via video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As noted by Viktor Cherepov, Executive Vice-President of the RUIE and Chairman of the Organizing Committee, the Russian Business Leaders awards comprise eight categories including Dynamic Business Development, Best Project on Import Substitution, Contribution to Social Development, Environmental Responsibility and Human Resources Development. This year, 152 major companies, representing almost half of Russia’s regions, took part in the competition. The Grand Prix, a prize awarded to a company that wins more than half of the nominations, was awarded to PhosAgro. The prize has been awarded only twice in the history of the awards, and both times it has gone to PhosAgro.
“We presented our first Grand Prix in 2017. Since then, the business environment in our country has taken significant steps forward, and during the pandemic it confirmed our maturity and understanding of our responsibilities. PhosAgro received the second Grand Prix at the RUIE’s Russian Business Leaders awards, which means that the company has raised the bar even higher, continuing to set the standard for dynamic development and efficiency, social orientation and environmental sustainability of its business practices in our country,” said Alexander Shokhin, President of the RUIE.
“I am grateful to the entire Russian business community for their support and to the jury of the competition for their recognition of PhosAgro's achievements. This victory is the merit of each of PhosAgro's many thousands of employees. The RUIE Congress and the Russian Business Leaders awards are held a few days after PhosAgro's anniversary. PhosAgro is 19 years old and we are starting our twentieth year in a difficult time that has taught us to think and work in new ways. Most importantly, thanks to comprehensive preventive measures at all of our facilities, we were able to maintain the health of our employees and the smooth functioning of our operations. In the pandemic conditions, we have not slowed down – the Company continues to increase fertilizer production volumes and set new records. As a key taxpayer, we aid the social and economic development of the Murmansk, Vologda, Saratov and Leningrad regions. We implement many social and charitable programmes, supporting veterans and the development of education and culture. We are building sports facilities, opening museums and developing a tourism destination in the Khibiny which has become one of the best ski resorts in the country. Each year, the Company allocates more than RUB 2.5 billion towards these goals. This year, we have already spent double this figure. I promise that we will continue to make every effort to reaffirm our high rank as one of the leaders of Russian business," said PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev.
In its citation for the Grand Prix, the jury noted the stable dynamics of the Company's performance growth, productivity growth, personnel development programmes, the level of funding and the scale of environmental projects, the high level of social protection of employees guaranteed by collective agreements, the Company’s active participation in programmes for the socio-economic development of the regions and municipalities where it operates, and the scale of charity programmes implemented in accordance with the social strategy. JSC Apatit (part of PhosAgro Group) was awarded a separate prize for Tax Project of the Year in the Automation of Tax Processes category for its Export Automation project.
The jury evaluated the activities of Russian companies in 2019, which was a record year for PhosAgro in terms of production of fertilizers and feed phosphates at over 9.5 million tonnes (up 6.1% year-on-year over 2018). Production of apatite and nepheline concentrates was 11.7 million tonnes (5.8% growth vs 2018). The Company increased sales to its priority domestic market by 10.5%, supplying Russian farmers with over 3 million tonnes of fertilizers. According to RAFP, 35% of all fertilizers purchased by Russian farmers at the end of 2019 were produced by PhosAgro.
In 2019, PhosAgro was actively involved in the creation of a green standard for Russian agricultural products with improved environmental characteristics. At the initiative of PhosAgro and with the support of all RAFP members, an eco-label was developed confirming the high environmental performance of Russian-made mineral fertilizers.
The Company announced the early achievement of the key targets in its development strategy to 2020 and adopted a development strategy to 2025. PhosAgro is targeting 20% growth in production volumes. Sustainable development is also one of the priorities of the new Strategy. The United Nations has recognised the Company's success in this area by including PhosAgro as a member of the UN Global Compact LEAD platform for socially responsible business.
PhosAgro is a key taxpayer and an active participant in socio-economic development programmes in the regions where it operates. PhosAgro allocates more than RUB 2.5 billion annually to charitable projects. In the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, PhosAgro has strengthened its traditional support for medical and social institutions and has also implemented a comprehensive set of measures to protect employees from the virus. In total, over RUB 2.5 billion were allocated for this purpose between March and October of this year.