ANNUAL REPORT AND
ANNUAL REPORT AND
GENERAL MANAGER´S LETTER
It is a pleasure for me to reach you again in these first lines of the Annual Report and Balance Sheet 2021. This document, in which we as a company report on our economic performance, is always a wonderful opportunity to open a dialogue and tell you what we did in the last fiscal year and what results we achieved. The transparency of these communications is one of the keys to our management, to be accountable and to reinforce the bonds of trust that unite us.
In the year of our 20th anniversary, we decided to make key decisions that would reinforce the industry’s transformation towards sustainable agriculture. For this reason, we formed an interdisciplinary team composed of a member of each management team of the Company, which is in charge of developing and implementing the 2030 Sustainability Strategy. This strategy is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and allows us to measure in concrete actions our purpose of nurturing the earth in a sustainable manner.
Digitalization is already driving a new key paradigm in the transformation process to a sustainable industry. Therefore, this year, the Annual Report and Balance Sheet are available to everyone in digital format only. We are convinced that in order to achieve real change we must make concrete decisions that will bring us a little closer to the goal. In this line, we developed an intuitive microsite that seeks to be an easy-to-read channel from any device and allows us to move easily between the most relevant points of the document.
Continuing along the line of sustainability, we currently receive a large part of our electricity supply from the Manantiales Behr wind farms, located in the province of Chubut, and Los Teros, located in the province of Buenos Aires. This led us to replace 66% of the base electrical energy consumed at Profertil with energy from renewable sources, surpassing the participation percentage established by Act No. 27191 for the corresponding year, which sets a target of 16%.
The year 2021 continued to be a pandemic time. Different from 2020, undoubtedly, but still with many health challenges worldwide, nationally and, of course, in our Company’s own environment. Scientific advances generated changes in public regulations, to which we adapted by updating protection measures and prioritizing the health of the work team.
Part of our team continued working from their homes, while another substantial percentage went to the plant complying with the strictest protocols to take care of their health and that of their families. Together we were able to achieve our main objective: to ensure the operational continuity of a plant that was considered essential from the beginning of the pandemic, due to its high impact on food production.
In the midst of the complexity of COVID-19, at Profertil we were able to successfully conduct the most important plant turnaround in our history. Originally scheduled for 2020 and postponed by the first wave of the pandemic, we were finally able to complete it in June of this year, with a duration of more than 60 days.
In addition to the complexities involved in any plant turnaround (coordination, imports, personnel from various parts of the world, safety, environmental care, etc.), we had to add the health protocols and care measures for all the people who entered the plant to work. With state-of-the-art technology, personal monitoring equipment and massive testing, in addition to the more than fifty measures already adopted in previous months, we were able to safely complete these weeks. The challenges were enormous, and the work team managed to achieve the objectives without impacting the environment or registering personal accidents. All of this within the allocated budget and the planned time.
Another milestone that was part of the past year was the fact that, for the first time, our Company placed negotiable bonds in the local market. With a total demand of USD 41 million, the issuance reached USD 25 million (USD 5 million more than expected) through the dollar link instrument, at a rate of 2.49% and a maturity of 24 months. The amount of the offering is intended to increase fertilizer production, to provide the Company with working capital and to reinforce the sustainability of the production complex. This issuance placed us at a new level, which demonstrates the professionalism and transparency with which our Company is managed, and of which we can be proud.
On the road to boosting digitalization in the industry, together with the Rosario Stock Exchange, we developed a fertilizer module in the Muvin logistics app, which we currently use to manage the distribution of our products throughout the country.
The coming year will again be challenging. In an international context of major complexity for our product, Profertil’s raison d’être will continue to be our clients. Urea, which is in short supply globally due to multiple energy and geopolitical factors, will continue to be in high demand in the market, so we are committed to working every day to deliver as much as possible. Profertil continues to be the only national producer of granulated Urea for a market that, in recent years, has doubled the demand for this key input for the healthy and nutritious development of crops.
Many thanks to the entire Profertil team and to all those who make our company possible. I invite you to browse through this document where, as usual, you will find detailed information on our economic and financial performance.
(Information not covered by the Independent´s Auditor Report)
To Profertil S.A. Shareholders:
According to legal and statutory provisions we are pleased to submit for approval the annual report, inventory and general balance sheet to December 31, 2021, as well as statements of income, changes in shareholders’ equity and cash flows for the fiscal year completed by December 31, 2021.
INPUTS AND MANAGEMENT
Natural Gas Supply
Profertil consumes approximately 2500 dam3/day of natural gas coming from the Austral Basin, the San Jorge Gulf, and the Neuquén Basin. This supply backed by uninterruptible supply agreements signed with YPF, Pan American Energy, ENAP Sipetrol and Compañía General de Combustibles. On the other hand, firm supply transport is backed by means of long-term contracts entered into with TGS, expiring close to 2048.
Electrical energy supply
In 2018, Profertil entered into an agreement with YPF Energía Eléctrica for the supply of renewable Energy for 21 years. Manantiales Behr located in the province of Chubut and Los Teros, located in the province of Buenos Aires. These wind farms allow for the replacement of 60% of base power for renewable energy. In 2021, replacement was 66%. Therefore, we overcame the percentage of renewable participation established by Law No. 27191 for the year (16%).
The operation of the Bahía Blanca productive complex presented some difficulties during the first semester of 2021, mainly because of unexpected shutdowns due to equipment failure and the natural gradual loss of efficiency owing to the operative time elapsed since the last maintenance Turnaround (year 2018). Actually, during the first months, there were interruptions in the production process that affected the planned production volumes and had an impact on the operating factors.
Undoubtedly, the most important event of the year was the Turnaround for equipment maintenance and replacement, which was a great challenge for the entire organization. The established objective was to “complete Turnaround tasks integrating the area activities, respecting all Safety, Occupational Health and Safety standards under the COVID as well as Environmental protocols, Quality standards and procedures, the committed times and the approved budget; complying with the guidelines dictated by the Company Turnaround Manual in order to ensure a reliable and efficient operation of the facilities until the next Turnaround is carried out.”
This Turnaround has been originally planned for 2020, but had to be postponed due to the pandemic. In 2021, the starting date was defined as June 1, but after evaluating the evolution of the pandemic and analyzing the situation together with health experts to determine the most favorable date in terms of minimizing the risks derived from the COVID context, it was decided to begin work on June 28.
This Turnaround was the most significant in the history of the Company, both in the number of activities carried out and their duration and the investment associated with their implementation. In addition, all this had to be managed within a framework of restrictions and uncertainties derived from the pandemic context, which implied hard work beforehand to contemplate possible contingencies, and a great deal of creativity and effort to overcome the new challenges.
The Turnaround was defined by a combination of several factors, among which we can mention: the end of catalysts life (for the first time all Ammonia plant catalysts were replaced in a single Turnaround), the results of equipment condition monitoring (here we highlight the intervention of one of the most important assets, the Primary Reformer, which underwent the partial replacement of radiant chambers walls); the expected useful life (maintenance performed on large machines, such as steam turbines and process compressors) and major investment projects. Among these major investment projects there stand out: ammonia reactor internals technology changes, replacement of the recovery boiler with new technology equipment, replacement of an exchanger in the Primary Reformer convective area, improvements in all CO2 separation unit columns (MDEA unit), replacement of the Urea reactor trays with new technology, and the replacement of the screens on both granulation units with new technology.
To get an idea of the scale of the Turnaround, we can mention that the total duration was 60.2 days, during which 2160 tasks were performed, with a peak ingress of 1400 people and an approximate investment of USD 75 MM. Among other activities, the following were carried out: equipment replacement (some equipment were replaced because they were at the end of their useful life and others to obtain higher capacity), repairs, cleaning of heat exchangers, catalysts replacement, and the preparation of equipment for new projects. All this in order to maximize operational reliability (reducing the risk of undesired shutdowns), increase the life of the equipment due to greater mechanical integrity, guarantee the safety of the production complex and provide greater energy and production efficiency to the processes.
Occupational health and hygiene measures, prevention and mitigation measures in the event of the occurrence of cases, which were adopted considering the COVID-19 risk, deserve a special paragraph. The actions were led by the Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) area and enabled the performance of activities in a safe working environment. In this sense, a general protocol was created for Turnaround activities, plus specific protocols for entering confined spaces and mask cleaning.
Contractor companies defined a COVID-19 representative, whose main responsibility was to generate their own protocol to minimize the risk of contagion, monitoring the health status of every company’s personnel, and immediate and continuous communication with the EH&S area and the Company’s medical service. In addition, training and audits were carried out and, when people with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 were identified, referrals were made to the medical service and safe transportation to their respective homes was arranged. Likewise, after massive testing, when positive cases were identified, protocols were activated to locate people quickly and facilitate their immediate transfer.
During the Turnaround period, 79 investigations of occupational contacts were made based on the appearance of suspected or positive COVID-19 cases. This made it possible to identify both in-house and contractor personnel who had close contact with positive cases, isolate them to minimize possible contagion and follow up on the health status of each one. An IT tool, Drixit (people geolocation device) was used to identify close contacts quickly and accurately.
On the other hand, 230 safety, health and environmental programs were carried out that included the identification and evaluation of safety hazards and risks, environmental aspects and impacts, and health risks of the activities to be performed. Likewise, the necessary training for all the people involved in each task was defined. More specific trainings for contractor companies were given, validated by EH&S specialists and conducted by Universidad Tecnológica Nacional (National Technological University) staff. In this sense, 231 courses were given, with 4055 individuals enrolled.
On the other hand, a specific Safety and Environment Observations (OSMAS) program was planned and executed. 46 observations were made, and the 123 deviations found were treated and closed within 48 hours as foreseen in the Turnaround objectives. Simultaneously, the Safety Audit for Contractors program continued.
A working team was formed with contracted safety technicians who, together with those who work permanently in the plant, carried out supervision and control of safety, health and environmental tasks. Meetings were held twice a day with contractor companies’ safety technicians, both in day and night shifts, to analyze daily tasks, discuss the experiences of the incidents of the previous days, and study the progress of the programmed activities, among other issues.
A team of industrial rescuers was also hired and supervised for confined spaces activities and as support for the emergency brigade due to the large number of simultaneous activities.
In the environmental area, tasks were planned and executed to promote circular activities that would allow us to minimize our impact. In this sense, the following tasks were carried out:
• Donation of approximately 400 m3 of inert refractory material to the Municipality of Bahía Blanca to backfill municipal land.
• 45,000 liters of used oil were sent to an authorized company that produces alternative fuels based on industrial waste.
• Plastic waste, separated at source, and household waste were sent to the eco-plant located in General D. Cerri for further classification, recycling, and commercialization.
• 58.8 tons of wood were donated to different organizations in Bahía Blanca and the nearby area to be reused for the manufacture of furniture and handicrafts or as a heating source.
• 9248 kg of carton and paper were sent to a recycler and the economic value of this material was donated to the Luis Braille Center (Center for the blind and visually impaired).
• 1417 empty drums were sent to a licensed operator for reuse after proper treatment.
Of equal importance were the activities carried out by the Human Resources Management that worked actively to reduce COVID-19 infections during the Turnaround and to ensure that tasks were carried out as planned, without any impact caused by the limitation of personnel due to contagion or close contacts.
In this sense, the following actions were deployed before and during the Turnaround:
• Definition of a process to quickly and effectively address people with symptoms. For this purpose, the following was established: rapid test, isolation room, transfer and analysis of the person’s close contacts.
• Reinforcement of the health team.
• Provision of internet in each mobile office that was temporarily installed.
• Streamlining of entrances, enabling three points of entry to the plant, each with thermographic cameras that allowed temperature control and the use of face masks.
• Expansion of spaces to ensure adequate separation between people and guarantee limited seating capacity. New canteens, restrooms and parking were installed.
• Swabs were taken to detect people with asymptomatic disease. Rapid and random COVID-19 screening tests were carried out, either by presence of symptoms or massive swabs. Massive swabs were implemented in three days during which, in 8 hours, all personnel in the plant were swabbed. In total 4868 swabs were performed.
• Use of digital EPP, a tool that records close contacts (less than 2 meters with a duration of more than 15 minutes), through the use of devices handed out at the entrance to the premises, to isolate people quickly and accurately in the event of a positive COVID-19.
• Digital billboards were set up in high-traffic areas to transmit key messages, new measures adopted and relevant information. In addition, a COVID- 19 attention channel was created through WhatsApp.
The result was highly satisfactory. It was possible to meet the objectives set for duration, quality and number of tasks performed, budget and, most importantly, without personal accidents or environmental incidents. This fills us with pride and satisfaction and encourages us to continue on this path of consolidating our work teams – a key factor for success in the realization of the Turnaround – and drives us to continue consolidating our continuous improvement philosophy, continuously adding new learning experiences.
The operative performance of the complex before the Turnaround showed a major improvement in relation to the first semester of the year, recording highly significant reductions in the specific consumption of power of the complex, and daily and monthly Ammonia and Urea production records. In fact, with respect to Ammonia production, December became the best historic month, with 72,944 tons, and December 21 was the day with the highest daily historic production with 2389 tons, overcoming thus the rated capacity of 2360 tons. Urea production, on the other hand, had it highest historical production value also in December and a historical daily production record of 3935 tons on December 31.
As a general summary of the year, both plants operated at an acceptable reliability factor (actual vs expected running time), in spite of certain issues experienced during the first semester and a highly significant improvement during the second half of the year. The Ammonia Plant operated with a reliability factor of 90.7%, below the expected factor of 96.5%, while in the Urea Plant it was 94.8%, versus the planned 98.3%.
Urea production for the year was 918,708 tons, below the budgeted value due to the already mentioned issues that occurred during the first semester as well as Ammonia production, which was 564,675 tons, a number also below planned.
As to the Ammonia Plant specific power consumption (main consumer), these were slightly below the budgeted values, both in natural gas and electricity. A significant improvement was noticed in the values recorded after the Turnaround, as expected. To this end, natural gas specific consumption went from an average of 43.95 to 40.05 MMBTU/t (a reduction of approximately 9%) with excellence values in December of 37.6 MMBTU/t.
During the year, natural gas specific consumption was 44.1 MMBTU/t, versus the planned 41.1 MMBTU/t. The reasons for this difference were, first, the lack of operative continuity during the first half of the year. There were other factors at play, such as the operation with the auxiliary boiler during almost the whole year due to the need for sufficient steam to operate the Primary Reformer fan driving turbine (problems with the electric motor), lower HP steam production in one of the generators caused by mechanical problems, and synthesis gas venting operation to maximize CO2 production together with the inability to process it in the circuit due to problems in one of the heat exchangers.
Electric power consumption was 2.08 MMBTU/t, very close to the planned value of 2.03 MMBTU/t. The reasons for this slight deviation were low self-generation due to instability in the national grid, almost year-round operation with the electric motor driving the auxiliary boiler fan and operation with the third semi-poor amine electric pump in the MDEA unit to keep the CO2 absorber column stable.
On the other hand, the specific consumption of electric power in the Urea Plant was almost similar to budgeted, 1.38 vs. 1.37 MMBTU/t.
As to Human Resources management of the Production area during the year, 22,214 operative training hours were totaled, brigade-specific training and others, for 100 people (field operators, panel operators, contact engineers, shift and daytime supervisors). Furthermore, 10 field operators who joined the company on June 1 started their training in different sectors of the complex. They were also accredited to operate forklifts (Resolution SRT – 960/15) with the National Technological University, with the virtual modality, and two operators assigned to the Utilities sector took the theoretical course on Boiler Operation at the National Technological University (UTN) in order to obtain the enabling license. Six field operators continued their training if the Process Simulator/Distributed Control System (DCS) for accreditation of their respective panels (three Utilities, one in Ammonia and two Urea operators) and 17 field operators revalidated the authorization for the of forklift operation license (Resolution SRT – 960/15) with the Universidad Tecnológica Nacional (UTN), also on line. In addition to that, specific training in leadership and conflict resolution was developed for supervisors.
The courses developed by IPA-UNS/PLAPIQUI were added to be carried out on line. 76 operators completed the “Heat Exchanger” course given on line.
During the year, Knowledge Management was also worked on. Along this line, 20 visual procedures (operative videos) were developed and linked to the written procedures, following the modern training standards, and a quick search of plant technical information training platform was implemented.
As to the 2021 Company investment plan, it consisted mainly of the projects to be implemented during the Turnaround, which had been postponed for this period due to the pandemic context. Thus, the original budget allocated for the area was USD 65,1 MM divided among the Technical sector (90 investments for USD 23.8 MM) and Maintenance (82 investments for an associated amount of USD 41.3 MM), including in this universe small, medium, and large companies, and including both sustaining and non-sustaining investments.
In general, the execution of the plan could be accomplished, with a net saving of USD 2.4 MM for work force cost management during the Turnaround, contracting of big equipment (cranes, carts and others) and the non-consumed execution contingencies.
In the Technical Department Process Engineering sector, work was performed mainly in Turnaround-related issues: catalyst replacement, synthesis gas converter replacement, recovery boiler replacement, revamp of the MDEA unit, replacement of super cups trays in the Urea reactor, repair of stripper and MP decomposer internals Moreover, support was provided for operational sustainability with equipment that needed to be intervened during the Turnaround due to their low performance. Also, support for operative sustainability was provided with equipment that required intervention in the plant turnaround due to low performance.
In the period after the Turnaround, during the second half of the year, performance reports were prepared for all the intervened assets, assessing their energy consumption and production levels. Improvements and recommendations were proposed to maximize operational performance, such as adjustments in the Primary Reformer and in the MDEA unit, to name the most relevant, which involved reaching record production levels. Waste gas stream use was also achieved, resulting in savings in natural gas consumption. On the other hand, tests were carried out in a pilot biological treatment plant to optimize liquid effluent quality.
In addition, in the Process Safety technical area, several activities were carried out, for example:
• Development and commissioning of control strategies for the new KS steam temperature control stations, validating the effectiveness of the systems to control temperatures below design in scenarios of higher thermal imbalance of the Primary Reformer, a problem that has existed since the beginning of the plant. A new KS steam vent valve that allows avoidance of safety valve actuations in the steam network of the Urea plant when the CO2 compressor stops.
• A new KS steam vent valve that allows avoidance of safety valve actuations in the steam network of the Urea plant when the CO2 compressor stops
• New fuel gas-to-gas turbine pressure control strategy
• Minimization of waste gas venting (off-gas) maximizing its use in the recovery boiler.
• Improvement of the Urea Plant MP Absorber column inlet temperature control strategy.
•Implementation of smart alarms for the early detection of process stream crystallization in heat exchangers.
However, the most outstanding news is undoubtedly the RTO (Real Time Optimizer) commissioning on December 25 that had become inoperable after the changes made by the Capacity Expansion and Energy Saving Project in 2015. The RTO is a strict, steady-state, nonlinear process simulator that allows monitoring and predicting plant behavior and optimizing existing operations in order to maximize, for example, certain objectives such as production or profitability or to minimize energy consumption.
The process started in December 2017 with the upgrade of the Advanced Process Control system (APC) in the Ammonia Plant. In September 2020, a contract was signed with Aspentech and work began remotely, with the difficulties derived from the quarantine, which made it impossible to bring foreign personnel into the country and enter the plant normally. In spite of mentioned problems, it was executed in the foreseen term (it required the 2021 Turnaround as a previous step, to be able to have all new equipment in service).
On the other hand, the Reliability and Mechanical Integrity area worked hard on improving asset care based on the results obtained, from both the 2021 Turnaround and the normal operation. From the different work lines, the following are highlighted:
Asset obsolescence end of lifetime plan: replacement and/or upgrade of equipment in all the areas. One hundred per cent of the tasks planned were executed to carry out the 2021 Turnaround. Among the most relevant tasks, the following may be mentioned:
> Upgrade of the distributed control system of the entire Ammonia plant and of field instrumentation, which migrated to a smart system.
> Upgrade of the protection system of big compressors, turbines and pumps to a new line of the Bently Nevada 3005 system.
> Upgrade of the entire fire and gas detection and actuation system.
> Upgrade of the entire Urea transport and loading control system.
> Upgrade of the switchgear and electrical protection system.
> Replacement of both emergency supply sources (UPS1 and UPS2).
> Installation of a wireless monitoring system in the cooling water system pumps and coolers.
Mechanical integrity: analysis and improvement of asset care plans and replacements due to various problems.
> Replacement of assets to new designs or material upgrades of heat exchangers and pressure vessels.
> Restoration of equipment with corrosion damage under insulation.
> Execution of 180 complete internal inspections of equipment and lines during the 2021 Turnaround.
> Analysis and improvement of plans with RCM, FMEA, RBI methodologies and according to API standards.
Digital transformation plan: automatic data generation was included in all asset replacements performed for subsequent analysis by means of artificial intelligence and the data processing system pilot design stage was initiated for evaluation.
As to asset maintenance management, performance indicators results were commensurate to the situation established by the pandemic during the first part of the year and to asset condition before carrying out the Turnaround.
After the Turnaround, we operated and maintained the assets according to the strategies priorities and their associated plans with excellent operative results in December, according to plant design.
Towards the end of the year, and to respond to present and future challenges, organizational changes were performed in the Maintenance Department. This is mainly due to the need to have a sector identified with the planning and programming of maintenance in all its specialties, a Maintenance Engineering sector, a reinforcement in face of the demand by the General Services sector and a new function in the Instruments and Control Systems sector devoted to Infrastructure Engineering and Control Systems Applications. Thirteen professionals from different specialties joined the company and two engineers from the team were promoted.
All this organizational analysis work was carried out together by the Human Resources Management and the Industrial Operations Management.
The main Maintenance Department forward-looking challenges will be focused on reviewing and optimizing the work process, geared to the new strategy-focused structure, and the revision of the best practices (bidding for a new maintenance contract that expires at the beginning of 2023 and guidelines of a new contract of the Ammonia plant Siemens train that expires by the end of 2023).
Estimates regarding the domestic fertilizer market for 2021 yielded a total of 5.3 million tons, a volume similar to 2020 volume which was 5287 million tons.
As to the fertilizers group, nitrogen fertilizers represented 58% of the total in the 2021 campaign increasing in 2 points is share as to the previous year. Second in importance were phosphate fertilizers, which reached 36% of the total. The most widely used nitrogen fertilizer continues to be Granulated Urea by a wide margin, increasing its share to 71% in the category, followed by UAN, which represented 20% of the total.
Regarding the agricultural campaign, main crops production during the 2020-2021 cycle, according to the National Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries data, totaled 137 million tons, slightly higher than in the previous cycle. Maize is still the crop that contributed the largest volume, with a production of 61 million tons and an evolution of 4% with respect to the previous season, followed by soybeans with 46 million tons, which showed a 5% decrease with respect to the previous season. Crops in general had lower yields than in the previous season, which were compensated by a larger planted area.
Total production per crop (in thousands of tons)
The main Profertil sales data during 2021 were the following:
As to reference prices, Arabic Gulf (AG) FOB averaged USD 520 per ton in 2021, USD 272 above the average in 2020.
The next chart shows the evolution of Profertil´s urea domestic sales, which has represented about 60% of the urea market share for agriculture. The year 2021 finished with a sales volume of 1,132,000 tons in the local market, which allows us to generate a higher commercialization margin.
During 2021, as part of the Research and Development related activities, we performed a cycle of six videoconferences called “Building together the 2030 Argentine Green Agenda”. Two technical trainings were conducted on fine grains farming: “Soil health: key to increasingly efficient systems” and “Nutrition on demand: wheat and barley”. These courses were supplemented with the development of soil analysis tutorials, participation in “A todo trigo” with wheat-related environmental care and two meetings of the AAPRESID cycle.
During the second half of the year, we continued with the videoconference “Evolutionary changes and innovation in Argentine agriculture.” “Agriculture and nutrients management” and “Criteria and tools for maize nutrition management”. This was completed with the participation in a workshop in the Maizar Conference in the AAPRESID Conference.
With respect to the relation with the retail channel and the link with the end user, three Prosuelos events were carried out with different technicians from our distribution channel (Buenos Aires northern area, Santa Fe southern area, and Córdoba and southeastern Buenos Aires).
We continued with our dissemination work and the generation of data for the application of the best management practices to nurture our crops, aligned with the promotion of sustainable agriculture. Likewise, in line with our Sustainable Development Objectives, we took part in the Argentine Carbon Neutral Program (PACN) working sessions. These are being carried out in the Argentine Grain Exchanges and we are conducting maize trials with in situ evaluation and quantification of GHG emissions (nitrous oxide and ammonia volatilization), with different nitrogen fertilization treatments (N doses and sources). We already have the results of the first year and we have started working on the second. This work, carried out by INTA specialists, will provide us with the local data necessary to carry out GHG inventories and determine the carbon footprint in Argentina.
Within the framework of Profertil alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Agenda, starting in 2021, we initiated the “Risk prevention in rural areas” program, which is related to people’s health and well-being. With the advice of the Buenos Aires Agronomics Department (FAUBA) we launched the first cycle, which was made up of six meetings, where the risk conditions faced daily by farm workers, regulations and best practice protocols that support safe work in agriculture, risk prevention and safe handling of fertilizer products, environmental management, quality management, as well as best agricultural management practices, were analyzed.
As to the logistic activities, during 2021, 2,874,351 tons were mobilized, adding vessel reception and loading, local movement of goods, and purchases and deliveries to customers. Dispatches through contracted warehouses and terminals reached 2,117,408 tons, either for its own products or for logistic services rendered to third parties. Of this total, 1,326,578 tons were delivered in the warehouses indicated by our clients. Our logistics terminals are located in Bahía Blanca, Necochea and San Nicolás in the province of Buenos Aires, and Puerto General San Martín in the province of Santa Fe.
From Bahía Blanca, Urea and Ammonia ships were loaded destined to own storage facilities, to the domestic market, to exports, and to gasoline dispatch for third parties, adding up a total of 581,708 tons. In our terminals of Necochea, San Nicolás and Puerto General San Martín logistics services were provided to third parties consisting of the unloading of vessels, storage of liquid and solid fertilizers, blending, bagging and dispatching for a total of 328,061 tons.
ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCES
Determining factors of fiscal year statement
The net income of the 2021 fiscal year yielded a gain of $13,466 million. This was mainly due to an exponential increase in international fertilizer prices (approximately 91% with respect to 2020) generating a historic record for the company in sales revenue levels, accompanied by a demand for Urea in the domestic market which remained in levels above 1,100,000 tons dispatched and on the other hand, absorption of the peso devaluation using different financial hedging tools on peso-denominated monetary items, which were exposed to the increase in the exchange rate (annual change in the exchange rate).
Next, we show the main Economic-Financial indicators, compared to those of the previous fiscal year.
Profertil started 2021 with a cash position of USD 99.9 MM and financial debt of USD 90 MM. These same items at the end of the 2021 financial year totaled USD 223.5 MM and USD 92.2 MM, respectively.
2021 was as challenging as 2020 for Argentina in general and for Profertil in particular.
This was the result of a quarantine that had an impact on the macro-economy, and several aspects marked 2021. First, the intense regulation of the foreign exchange market and the issuance of money to finance government expenditures increased the fiscal deficit and inflation levels. In the same vein, the official exchange rate lost competitiveness in real and exchange terms and, added to the level of international reserves, devaluation expectations were generated in the financial market.
On the other hand, debt maturities with international credit organizations such as the IMF and the Paris Club deepened general expectations.
Additionally, the sovereign debt curve renegotiated a year ago was priced at its recovery value; so much so that in the midst of the negotiations with the IMF, Argentina remained out of international credit markets, a channel that would have allowed access to new financing.
Nevertheless, during the year, the Company carried out the Turnaround planned for 2020, which due to its duration (60 days) and the volume of tasks represented a significant outlay in working and investment capital, a work that was started in 2018.
Beyond the context described above, Profertil focused on continuing its policy of sustainable indebtedness to cover working capital needs. Along the first semester of 2021, USD 108 MM were taken between refinancing and new indebtedness, but it is worth mentioning that most refinancing were due to BCRA regulations that prevented the total cancellations of those foreign financings.
Profertil issued its first Negotiable Bonds
Profertil issued its first Negotiable Bonds After a hard process of almost eight months, on February 11, 2021 the Board of Directors of the National Securities Commission (“CNV”) authorized Profertil to enter the Public Offer Regime and four months after that, on June 15, 2021 the Company issued its first Class 1 Negotiable Bonds denominated in U.S. dollars and payable in Mexican pesos at the applicable exchange rate, for a term of 24 months at a nominal annual rate of 2.49%. This is a milestone for Profertil which, beyond building a base in the local capital markets and opening new sources of financing, it also involved all the areas of the Company to work together, contributing each of them with their time and technical knowledge.
Finally, Profertil was able to comply with all its liabilities and end the year with an average debt rate of 5.84%. Attached is the debt evolution during 2021:
Credits and collections
In 2021, credit exposure accompanied sales development, according to the commercial policy and in agreement with the fertilizer market offer as regards terms and rates.
This year, the customers’ web portal was renewed, not only in terms of design, but also in terms of interaction possibilities, which continues to position us at the forefront of the industry. We continued developing alternative financing tools for the Distribution segment, and we continued with operations through rural credit cards and grain financing through forward grain contracts.
Although accounts receivable doubled during the year due to the price effect, collection periods were maintained in relation to the previous year, partly due to more rigorous collection and due to exchange rate uncertainty. Average period was 31 days.
With a total of 260 active clients and 200 lines granted, 80% of the credit granted is accounted for by 11% of the clients. Collaterals of the lines that expired during the current year were renewed.
In 2021, it was decided to end the outsourcing contract for the administration of the grain exchange, a task that began to be carried out with Company resources. During the year, a deep work of analysis, control determination and operation optimization was carried out. It will continue in 2022 in order to further increase the efficiency of the process.
ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH AND
SAFETY AND QUALITY
In 2021, we continued with the challenge of working with different stages of the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus. Learning and experience allowed us to adapt to a situation of permanent changes. Several activities were carried out by EH&S in line with the corporate objective of ensuring the operational continuity of the Bahía Blanca Complex, the Necochea Terminal, and the North Terminals. Another major challenge was to manage the most important Turnaround in the history of Profertil due to its duration (approximately 60 days) and the number of tasks (2500) that were performed in the same health context. The tasks performed by the EH&S team during the Turnaround are included in the specific section in the Industrial Operations Management chapter.
The specific protocols, according to activities and/or locations, that were modified during the year and are currently in force are as follows:
• Occupational Health and Hygiene Protocol, Pandemic Health Emergency COVID-19.
• Operational protocol for suspect/positive COVID-19 case.
• Jetty sanitation protocol. Vessel operations.
• COVID-19 Hygiene and health protocol for Necochea.
• COVID-19 Hygiene and health protocol for Terminales Norte.
• Health and hygiene protocol for contractors during gas turbine intervention.
• Hygiene and health protocol for CABA.
• Hygiene and health protocol for the work permit system.
• Turnaround protocol.
• Protocol for Emergency Brigade practices.
Staff and contractors were made aware of this through virtual meetings, and more than 60 investigations of occupational contacts were made based on the appearance of suspected or positive COVID-19 cases. This made it possible to identify people, both in-house and contractor personnel who had close contact with mentioned positive cases, isolate them to minimize possible contagion and follow up on the health status of each one.
The contracting companies defined a COVID-19 representative, whose responsibility was to communicate immediately and permanently with EH&S and were informed of changes in legislation and the requirements for entering the work sites (affidavit, temperature, smell, use of the APPTO platform, etc.), as well as preventive actions during the tasks.
An Editable Work Permit system was generated which allowed all those involved in in-plant tasks to complete work permits digitally. This way, personal contact and possible contagion paths were avoided and diminished. This process was discontinued after the Turnaround, as no significant evidence of COVID-19 infections by contact with surfaces or items such as paper were found.
Regarding the environmental aspect, we accomplished the provisions required by the program that sets the environmental control program conditions established by the competent authorities. These include measurements in emission fix points (stacks), air quality, liquid effluent discharge, underground water monitoring, and waste management and disposal. With these measurements, Profertil meets the requirements in the regulations in force and shows an environmentally responsible operation, both in Bahía Blanca complex and in the terminals.
The Gaseous Emissions to the Atmosphere License (LEGA) renewal of the Bahía Blanca complex was obtained, in force until September 20, 2025. Along the same line, work continued for the renewal of the Certificate of Environmental Aptitude for the Bahía Blanca complex and the Gaseous Emissions to the Atmosphere License of the San Nicolás Terminal.
As to the Integrated Management System, EH&S legal compliance verification audits were conducted at all certified sites as well as internal and external audits of the ISO 9001 standards: Quality Management System and ISO 14001 standard: Environmental Management System, ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management and ISO 50001:11 Energy Management. Management revision was performed under the virtual modality in October with the participation of employees from all the areas of the Company. All the aforementioned audits were performed again remotely for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant a great effort and an important achievement. Bureau Veritas external auditors concluded that our management system is mature and consolidated throughout the organization since no non-conformities were identified.
We continued to adhere to and participate in the Responsible Environmental Care Program administered by the Argentine Chamber of Chemical and Petrochemical Industries (CIQyP). We attended the meetings scheduled virtually and complied with the self-evaluations of the seven codes and the delivery of performance indicators. With these data, the CIQyP prepares reports about the sector it represents. In addition, our organization was ranked first in a ranking prepared by CIQyP, which includes 95 companies in the country adhered to the program, and is based on the values obtained by the independent audit of Det Norske Veritas to all sites. In this sense, in October we participated as speakers at the seminar “Process and Operations Safety: the importance in the Chemical and Petrochemical Industry”.
As it is customary within the area’s activities, and in conjunction with the person responsible for training in Industrial Operations, the Basic Training Program for Plant Brigades was carried out. Taking into account the protocols established for COVID-19 prevention, face-to-face meetings were held with Brigade personnel to provide the basic training modules planned for the year.
We participated in the APELL process as members of the emergency response and risk analysis commissions. As to the latter, we worked on the update of risk sources that might cause events that transcend the battery limits of each plant.
During the year, 2,399,291 worked hours were recorded for own and contracted personnel, with the following LTI (number of lost time incidents for every 200,000 hours worked) with a value of 0.17 and TRI (number of total reportable accidents for every 200,000 hours worked) with a value of 0.25 %. Within this framework, two lost time incidents were registered: one in the Bahía Blanca complex and the other in the Puerto General San Martín terminal. From the environmental point of view, no significant environmental incident was registered.
Annual work environment control analyses were performed by monitoring the following risk agents: physical (noise, lighting and vibrations), chemical (Volatile Organic Compounds [VOC], formaldehyde as UF, MDEA, chromium, nickel and the breathable and inhalable fraction of Urea dust) and biological (drinking water and food safety). We also performed controls on noise, lighting, vibrations, ambient dust, drinking water and food in the Necochea Terminal.
We developed studies on the health and safety risks to which the employees might be exposed due to the presence of chlorine dioxide. In this sense, the safety data sheet was recurrently evaluated, the generation process was thoroughly reviewed and the controls and measures to be followed to work in a safe environment were reported.
The annual program of “Training and accreditation of technical competencies related to Environment, Health and Safety” was complied with, according to the legal requirement established in Resolution SRT 905/15, which includes all members of the organization. A specific training was carried out on safe vehicle driving for people in the commercial sector who use these media for their work. The course included a series of videos that were sent monthly and supporting theoretical material.
Major maintenance work and modifications were carried out on buildings and other facilities related to people’s health and safety in the Norte Terminals. In the Puerto General San Martín, 14,000 m2 of galvanized sheet were replaced in the cells, improvements were made to the dust vacuum system, lighting fixtures were replaced and replaced with better technology with higher performance and lower maintenance costs, a pedestrian walkway was built between the cells to increase operator safety, and the automation of jetty hoppers opening. In the San Nicolás Terminal, 2000 m2 of galvanized sheets were replaced and the walkways in the cells were reinforced, the structure of the tensioning boxes was renewed to minimize the risk of falls, and a completely new piping was installed for receiving liquids from the port, which was buried and was replaced by an aerial one, allowing us to take action very quickly in case of leaks or other flaws. Likewise, internal streets were refitted with new concrete material, the offices were enlarged to provide greater comfort to the personnel, the security camera system was upgraded, and an equipment-washing basin was built to prevent spills on the ground, among other minor works.
2021 was a year full of challenges. The COVID-19 health emergency, initiated in 2020, accelerated the modernization processes towards virtual and efficient communication in which technology is the key. This transformation took place in a special context for Profertil: the celebration of 20 years of the first granulated Urea production.
This combination of factors helped driving even more the company’s objective: become a leading actor in the transformation of the industry towards sustainable and resilient agriculture. Considering this new communication format and with such a strong target leading the way, transmitting a unified vision shared by the company became a priority.
To this end, Profertil decided to carry out two key initiates during the year: the 2030 Sustainability Strategy and the formation of an integrated communications team.
2030 Sustainability Strategy
Aligned with the 2030 Sustainability Strategy of the United Nations Organization (UNO), the objective of the Sustainability Strategy is to adapt the Company’s management to the global redefinition of the fertilizer industry, the new requirements by the clients and the key role of the industry to achieve a sustainable food system.
A multidisciplinary team led by Institutional Relations and made up by at least one representative from each Company area was formed for this. Through regular meetings, this new work team monitored and validated the various stages of progress of the work plan, the first stage of which defines clear objectives for 2025.
The Sustainability Strategy and its action plan are aligned mainly to six Sustainable Development (SDO) of the United Nations: zero hunger (2), gender equality (5), decent work and economic growth (8), responsible production and consumption (12), climate action (13) and partnerships to achieve the goals (17).
A key learning during the last few years of management was the importance of working in multidisciplinary teams. To this end, in 2021 Profertil formed an integrated communication team. The goal is to define a macro communications strategy for the whole Profertil to speak the same language, the language of sustainability.
During 2021, the integrated communications team, made up by Internal Communications, Commercial and Institutional Relationships met weekly to define together the actions that enhance corporate communication. Consequently, the Company’s social media, which since 2020 respond to commercial and institutional objectives together, grew exponentially month after month.
One of the most important challenges we faced during this cycle was the most important Turnaround in Profertil history. It was more than 60 days of maintenance work during which the communications team was to keep the stakeholders informed on what was going on.
Along this line, work was done to strengthen digital communication channels (social media, WhatsApp groups with neighboring community representatives and journalists) to optimize the time required to send information and respond more quickly to queries regarding facts or events related to the Company.
In this context, it was also key to update and review crisis communication processes as well as support documents. Profertil had to be ready in face of any contingency inherent to such a Turnaround that was carried out during a global pandemic.
The relationship with journalists and the press is a key pillar in Profertil’s communication actions. Establishing this dialog, in such a way that it is an open circuit of interaction, makes it possible to strengthen trust, generate consultations and agile dynamics to meet the information demands of professionals and the community.
In this interaction, new challenges were added to the frequent communication channels that we had been using (press releases, newsletters, manuals or reports as well as the own digital communication ecosystem of the company). New exposure opportunities were developed for Profertil leaders, such as the participation in the APLA (Latin American Petrochemical Association) Sustainability Meeting, the Sustainability Forum, the Global Dircom Event “Corporate Sustainability in Communication and Public Affairs Management in Latin America”, and the first Agro Summit event organized by El Cronista Comercial. We also had interviews in international media such as Global Reports in England.
One action to highlight in this sense is the Journalists Day event, which is a classic event every year. Nevertheless, in 2021 we made another step forward. Within the framework of the Agricultural Journalist’s Day, talks were organized exclusively for this group of professionals, with the aim of strengthening the bond and providing them with useful tools for their daily work.
Even though the 2030 Sustainability Strategy united and strengthened the Company’s objectives, Profertil has been involved in environmental and community care for many years. Proof of this is that in 2021 the tenth edition of the Sustainability Report was issued.
The goal of this report is to account for the work done for environmental care and social contribution to the community.
The Report was carried out under the GRI G4 (Global Reporting Initiative) guidelines and based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially considering those to which Profertil contributes with its work.
Community outreach programs
The 2021 Profertil Institutional Management model – based on the pillars of transparency, honesty, integrity and sustainability – is the foundation on which we build the link between the Company and its publics. To be good neighbors is a priority objective. Along this line, community outreach programs are always a key point in the year’s actions.
With more than 46,400 visitors a year, it is the oldest program in Profertil and it is a clear example of a policy of open doors to the community and closeness to the neighbors.
During 2020 and 2021, plant visits were performed under the virtual modality. 3,200 students from different schools toured the plant and its processes through audiovisual material and a synchronous platform. In this way, we continue to strengthen our commitment to education and the link with students and teachers in times of pandemic.
Educar para transformar (Educate to transform)
We understand that the growth of society is closely linked to the possibility of studying and training. In 2021, we carried out the second edition of Educate to Transform, a scholarship program aimed at students in the last year of the Technical High School No. 1 of Ingeniero White and the Industrial Operations Technician of the Universidad Nacional del Sur.
Creciendo en Comunidad (Growing in Community) – Projects Board
Local social organizations are key allies in our goal to improve the life quality of the neighbors. We value their daily work with the community and consequently, since 2012 we carry out the Creciendo en Comunidad program.
During 2021, the meetings were held virtually and worked on five lines of action: strengthening of social organizations; continuous training for their members; spaces for the exchange of information and case studies; training spaces for new leaders in the work teams; and a work group exclusively for organizations of Ingeniero White, which participated in the strengthening seminar.
The Projects Board is a key space that stems from this program. At the end of the basic training stage, the institutions that are located in Ingeniero White are invited to participate in the Project Board to develop social investment initiatives in the port town, which directly contribute to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of Ingeniero White and to embellish the town.
During 2021, the main initiative of the Board was the second edition of the Productive Yards program seeking to generate vegetable gardens in the yards of Ingeniero White neighbors and thus encourage the farming of their own food, contributing to sustainability and family economy. The program has been accompanying 140 Ingeniero White families, which receive specific training and the necessary materials to start the garden in the different seasons of the year.
During the last cycle, the Projects Board enhanced the value of the Cangrejo (Crab) Square in the Boulevard Juan B. Justo neighborhood by installing new playground equipment, integrating playground equipment and repairing the existing ones, placing benches and tables, planting new trees and installing lighting. Moreover, it enhanced the crab sculpture located in said square.
Other squares were intervened in Ingeniero White, adding access ramps, lighting and repairs to some of the existing playground equipment.
Finally, a mural was painted in the Atilio Miglianelli square with images characteristic of the Ingeniero White port. The painting was made together among the students for the Art Workshop and members of the Projects Board.
Huerta (Vegetable Garden) Program
The Huertas program is geared to carrying out workshops for teachers in Bahía Blanca and the area with the objective of transmitting to their students the importance of caring for the soil as the main source of food. In 2021, the workshop format was 100% on line. Considering the needs imposed by the pandemic, the criterion for the new version of the workshop was that the activities proposed by the teachers to their students could be carried out from their homes.
Since the beginning in 2016, more than 350 teachers were trained as well as 9762 students of more than 226 schools. A WhatsApp group is generated after each edition, which are is alive after the workshops, becoming communities of consultation and follow-up on the subject of the school vegetable garden.
Prizes and awards
In the 2021 edition of the Eikon Awards, Profertil was recognized for two of its corporative communication initiatives. It was awarded the Golden Eikon for the #modoCosecha campaign that sought to connect the field with national public opinion. The panel highlighted the originality of the #modoCosecha, which narrates the spirit of the agribusiness world at this special moment. It was recognized with the Silver Eikon award in the General Digital Campaign category: Web, social media and Mobile Digital Communication for its Integrated Communications Plan.
Moreover, during this cycle, Profertil received the award corresponding to the ninth edition of the Best Corporate Social Reporting in Argentina awarded by the Ecumenical Social Forum award.
COMPLIANCE AND LEGAL
During the year 2021, we maintained our actions always aimed at consolidating our culture of ethics and compliance, strengthening all the tools of our Integrity Program, with the premise of guaranteeing total transparency in each of the organization’s activities.
The external auditor was commissioned to conduct an exhaustive analysis of the Integrity Program implemented by the Company, with the objective of analyzing the degree of maturity of the different components, in order to identify their strengths and opportunities for improvement. As a result of this analysis, we received a report with concrete recommendations aimed at increasing the strength of each of the components of the Integrity Program.
The tasks included interviews with key employees, analysis of Board meeting minutes, review of the relationship between the Company and related third parties, and review of the organization’s policies and procedures.
The assessment was conducted using a Compliance Effectiveness Framework, which considers, for the analysis of Integrity Programs, the existence and level of development of ten different attributes. This allows us to know our current status and also to plan our short, medium and long term actions, with a view to achieving the highest standards in ethics and compliance. The attributes referred to are: 1) high-level commitment to the program, 2) risk assessment, 3) governance, 4) policies and procedures, 5) sanctions, 6) training sessions, 7) communication, 8) auditing, 9) monitoring, and 10) investigation and prevention.
A performance model was also used, which positioned each attribute at a certain level of robustness, starting from an “initial” level, moving to a “formal” one, then “consolidated” or “outstanding”; always with a view to achieving an “optimum” standard. The highest rating was obtained within the attribute that evaluated the High Level Commitment, which evidenced an outstanding degree of involvement and commitment by senior management with the Company’s Integrity Program. To achieve this rating, the external auditor concluded that: 1) the senior management proactively supports the organization’s commitment to ethics and compliance, 2) Compliance is an integral part of the organization’s activities and decisions, 3) the organization considers Compliance as a key element of its strategic plan and activities, 4) policies and procedures address adherence to Compliance elements as part of employee performance evaluation, 5) Compliance metrics are included in employee evaluations and in the Program. In turn, the evaluator remarked among other points: 1) the hierarchy and importance given by the top management to ethics and compliance, which merited the creation of the Compliance and Legal Management Area, 2) the reports of news of the area that this Management Area makes monthly to the Board of Directors, 3) the procedures that require periodically submitting to the Board of Directors the complaints received through the Ethical Conduct Hotline, 4) the active and permanent participation of the Area within the Steering Committee, which meets weekly and allows knowing the relevant issues that are occurring in the other areas, as well as participating in the decision-making processes to nurture them with a compliance perspective, and 5) the active participation and personal relationship that the Compliance Officer has with the different areas of the Company.
Together with the diagnosis made, the evaluator provided a series of recommendations for each of the attributes analyzed, even suggesting different implementation deadlines for each improvement opportunity. From there, a roadmap was built to consolidate each of the recommendations, weighting the suggested prioritizations, thus enriching our continuous improvement program
In turn, in order to consolidate the due diligence processes of third parties in ethics and compliance matters, during 2021 a Training and Massive Adherence Program to the Code of Ethical Conduct for Third Parties was conducted. For this purpose, a unique linkage channel was created, which allows us to manage Compliance in the value chain, involving suppliers, customers, intermediate institutions and other interested parties. This link also allows us to continue in the pursuit of our most challenging goal, always maintaining our primary objective of advancing by deepening and strengthening our Compliance culture within the organization. At the same time, we are convinced that we can export our principles and values to all the entities with which we are linked. We assume the commitment and challenge of promoting a change in thinking that establishes a new form of business development, always oriented towards ethics, transparency and social commitment. Profertil is a leading and innovative company, so we understand that it is our responsibility to make effective use of these strengths to transmit our culture to all our customers, suppliers, contractors and other public and private institutions with which we interact. This new tool, depending on the type of relationship we have with the interested third party, enables us to have a fluid, agile, massive communication channel and additionally allows us to demand new and different requirements in terms of ethics and compliance, such as: 1) setting compliance deadlines, 2) assigning different consequences to each type of deviation, 3) conducting massive training to employees of contractors, customers and other third parties, 4) evaluating the Integrity Programs of each stakeholder, 5) monitoring and identifying opportunities for improvement of such programs, 6) identifying the risk level of each one and 7) knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each program. All these additional requirements and those that may arise in the future will always be oriented to the premise of collaborating in the continuous improvement of the performance of third parties in terms of ethics and compliance. In short, this tool will allow us to collaborate in the improvement of the Integrity Programs of all other companies, entities and organizations that we can reach, regardless of the level and type of relationship we have with them.
Beyond all those actions of a permanent nature, which are scheduled within our Integrity Program, as well as the execution of our Continuous Training Program and its permanent updating, the permanent follow-up and management of Ethics and Compliance Risks, the consolidation of our Anonymous Reporting channel, the continuous improvement of our procedures and policies, we have also carried out other specific processes in different specific areas, such as the management of cyber risks and the personal data protection project, involving all areas of the Company and cross-organizational.
At Profertil, we are committed to our vision, mission and values within a framework of good organizational climate. Therefore, we strive to promote a safe, inclusive and agreeable environment, where respect, acceptance and non-discrimination are the priority.
The management of human resources in Profertil is framed in the Integral System of People Management, which, associating different processes, seeks the best adaptation between the organization and its collaborators in order to achieve the objectives.
Management practices are aimed at adding value to our human capital. They ensure that each member of the team is committed to the achievement of professional goals, making work a key factor in the welfare and fulfillment of each person. Profertil’s culture promotes open and frank dialogue, in order to achieve a transparent and sustainable link between all the workers that make up the Company.
These People Management practices are grouped into three strategic axes that set the course for our daily actions: Diversity and Inclusion; Integral Well-being; Transformation.
Diversity and inclusion
With the code of ethical conduct and the diversity and inclusion policy, each person working in the organization participates in sustaining a work environment free of any type of violence or discrimination, whether among colleagues, superiors or clients, and that promotes the integral wellbeing of people. In 2001 we defined and implemented the “Protocol of Action in Cases of Violence in Relationship” with the purpose of accompanying people who are going through a situation of violence in the private environment with an integral approach, granting extraordinary licenses and loans, respecting privacy and individual autonomy.
Through this initiative, Profertil aims at the work environment to be a facilitator so that the person who suffers any type of violence (physical, verbal and/or psychological) coming from his or her family group or close environment (whether cohabitant or not, spouse, ex-partner, parents, children) receives accompaniment and support.
For the implementation of the protocol, in addition to the drafting and approval by the Steering Committee team, the Human Resources team was trained, and an awareness and communication campaign on violence was conducted, and a workshop on “Violence-free love” was held for adolescent daughters and sons of people working in the company.
In 2021, we increased our active participation in associations and groups of colleagues, such as the IFREI club (Family and Business Conciliation Center of the Argentine Business Institute) and the Diversity and Inclusion Network of the Chamber of Chemical and Petrochemical Industries of Argentina, to learn from good practices and promote a more equitable society.
The second edition of Educate to Transform, a scholarship program aimed at students in the last year of the Technical High School No. 1 of Ingeniero White and the Industrial Operations Technician of the Universidad Nacional del Sur, was held. During 2021, 12 high school students received scholarships, while 10 students from the university started the scholarship this year, in addition to the 7 students who received scholarships in 2020 in that career.
Integral well-being implies conceiving people as multidimensional beings and that work is one more sphere of life in which fulfillment can be achieved, beyond economic retribution. Defining wellbeing as the axis drives us to seek practices and actions where people are the center.
This year, we worked on the following initiatives:
• Well-being and Engagement Survey: through an online tool that guarantees confidentiality, we implemented a survey to measure individual and organizational well-being and engagement. The favorability surveyed in each dimension is among the highest values of Profertil and the indicator on pride in working in the Company amounts to 90%.
• People Development: with the focus on favoring the development of people in 2021, 32% of vacancies for permanent positions were filled with internal candidates, thus providing career opportunities for employees through internal mobility. Considering Profertil contractor companies personnel that filled permanent vacancies, the internal mobility indicator amounts to 48%.
• Leaders Program: we believe in the key role of leaders in transmitting and sustaining the organizational culture, so in 2021 we held a Leaders Meeting to address the challenges of leading teams in a changing and uncertain context through a 100% virtual scheme. The topics addressed by Olympic athlete Santiago Lange were inspiration, planning, resilience, new challenges and changes.
• Corporate Training: in 2021 we continued with the corporate training program called ProSoft. Five open and voluntary participation workshops were offered to develop professional skills: Self-Performance, LinkedIn, Effective Presentations, SAP Reporting, Collaboration in Mixed Work Scheme.
• Succession Plan: in accordance with the annual succession plan process, the Steering Committee updated the plan and identified development actions for the group of successors. During 2021, the actions foreseen in the plan were implemented.
• We conducted medical examinations for all our personnel, in addition to those required by law. Female personnel underwent specific examinations such as breast ultrasound and mammography. With these results, we defined preventive plans, training activities, dissemination of material related to good health care habits and permanent follow-up by the Company’s doctor.
• Children’s Day Box: we delivered a breakfast preparation kit for each family to become Food Creators. In addition, to impact the Diversity and Inclusion axis, the kits were prepared by local NGOs that address the inclusion of people with disabilities.
• Delivery of sanitizing kits: we sent sanitizing kits with alcohol, masks and protection elements necessary to deal with COVID-19 to homes.
• Year-end after-office: celebrating achievements and meeting again was the objective of a meeting held in the second semester.
Three years ago, we began to focus our people management on the transformation and innovation of both the organization and our practices, understanding that what we did well in the past will not necessarily lead to success in the future.
The transformation initiated in 2020, driven by the external driver of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued during 2021. During the course of the year, as there was a drop in epidemiological indicators and an advancement of the vaccination campaign, new stages of safe return to the office were enabled with a higher degree of presence. To this end, building adjustments were made (placement of thermographic cameras at the entrances, separation of work boxes, installation of air purifiers, etc.), a workspace reservation system was set up and the team was trained on care protocols.
Internal communication and work climate management were aimed at maintaining a sense of belonging in a context of change, promoting diversity and fostering healthy relationships and well-being. It was necessary to maintain active communication channels with content that would give people a sense of meaning and security, so, together with the Medical Service and the Steering Committee, videos and notes were made to transmit recommendations, care and new procedures.
Together with the Management Areas of Planning, Strategic Inputs and Management Control, a process of Transformation of Strategy and Organizational Culture was started with the aim of building a shared vision on Profertil 2025. In this sense, it became necessary to define the scenarios, the strategic guidelines and the capabilities required to build the strategic plan for the next five years, and to build the organizational culture required to support the new vision.
The IT area continued working on different projects to maintain the IT platform robust, secure, dependable, and efficient, ensuring that it is kept up to date.
The incorporation of cloud computing services continued, and a project for cloud governance was undertaken, defining new roles and responsibilities in the sector, as well as a structured methodology for evaluating the suitability of cloud adoption in new initiatives. Work continues on strengthening the cloud architecture, as well as on the soundness of its access model.
On the other hand, new tools were evaluated to streamline the management of the following internal sub-processes of the area: service management, demand management, inventories, process for managing user registrations and cancellations, among others. The InvGate tool was selected, and the implementation project was planned.
In relation to the special work scheme that had to be implemented due to the pandemic, new functionalities were added to the systems so that employees can reserve spaces in the offices and reserve transportation, in line with the new concept of workstations in administrative offices.
With the Commercial area, we worked on the integration of the Muvin logistics management platform with that of the SAP central system, we also implemented a new Customer Portal with new functionalities with respect to its previous version, and we continued to evaluate a solution to unify the internal management of trucks and scales in the Company’s different loading terminals. With the Legal and Compliance area, a joint work program was established related to the protection of personal data and the review of the contracting of cloud services, in addition to systematizing some initiatives, mainly those related to the company’s contractors.
With the Administration and Finance area, we began implementing the SAP Concur platform to optimize the processes for advance expense requests and their corresponding reimbursement, as well as the reimbursement of credit card expenses by employees. A unified contractor management model was also implemented with the possibility of sending documentation through the cloud called Certronic web.
With the IR and Marketing areas, work continued on the second phase of the web page unification project, achieving a new corporate image.
With other areas, we continue to evaluate solutions to systematize or streamline business processes, such as having a platform for the bidding process in Procurement, developing tools for the management of sub-processes in Environment, Health and Safety, systematization of work permits in the plant, laboratory management software, among others.
As regards information security, we continued with the work of raising awareness among users and new policies were incorporated in computer equipment to reinforce the security of the Company’s computer network. In addition, work began on the accessibility of corporate services from mobile devices and the systematization of corporate document flows.
At the infrastructure level, we worked on initiatives to expand system services, such as the installation of new instruments for the industrial Wi-Fi network and the reconfiguration for distributed internet access. We also accompanied the remodeling work on the San Nicolás Terminal and the Necochea dispatch terminal. The technological equipment in the meeting rooms was also upgraded.
The implementation of the 2021 plant turnaround during the winter period was a challenge for the entire organization. The Human Resources Management area worked actively with the objectives of reducing COVID-19 infections and that the tasks could be conducted according to plan, without affecting personnel due to COVID-19 positive cases or close contact.
The following actions were taken before and during the plant turnaround:
• COVID-19 management: a process was defined that would allow a person showing symptoms to be addressed quickly. For this purpose, the following was established: rapid test of the person, isolation room, transfer of the person and analysis of close contacts.
• Reinforcement of the health team.
• Provision of internet in each mobile office that was temporarily installed.
• Streamlined entry: three entry points to the plant were set up, each with thermographic cameras that allowed temperature and use of face masks to be controlled automatically.
• The spaces were enlarged to allow adequate separation between people and limited seating capacity. New canteens, restrooms and parking were installed.
• Swabs: to detect persons with the disease who were asymptomatic. Rapid tests for the detection of COVID-19 were conducted randomly, by presence of symptoms or mass swabs. The mass swabs were distributed over three days in which, in 8 hours, all the personnel in the plant were swabbed. A total of 4,868 swabs were performed.
• Digital EPP: this is a digital tool that records close contacts (less than 2 meters with a duration of more than 15 minutes) through the use of devices handed out at the entrance to the premises, to isolate people quickly and accurately in case they test positive for COVID-19.
• Communication: Digital billboards were set up in high-traffic areas to transmit key messages, new measures, and other information of interest. In addition, a COVID-19 service channel was created through WhatsApp.
Profertil would like to thank all the personnel for their collaboration during the management of this fiscal year, the shareholders for the collaboration received and the banking institutions and suppliers in general for their support.
Buenos Aires, March 10, 2022.
The Board of Directors