LAHORE The Engro Fertilizer has once again increased urea price by Rs400 per 50 kg bag to Rs1980 per bag on the plea of gas suspension to the company plant. Retail price for the farmer will now be close to Rs2,000 a bag effective from Monday (Oct 31, 2011). The industry sources said that this is the fifth time that Engro has raised urea price in 2011 on the excuse of gas curtailment and other issues. The latest price hike is the highest amongst all. The company raised the rates of urea fourth time on July 15 by Rs145/bag to Rs1,360/bag at dealers level from Rs 1,215/bag earlier. Third time on Apr 15, the countrys second largest fertilizer firm, had raised urea price by around Rs64 per bag, totalling Rs75/bag with sales tax, to Rs1,200 per 50 kg bag. In January 2011, Rs190/bag increase was announced also on the excuse of gas curtailment, which was the second jump. Engro officials claimed that in 2011, first time the company escalated the urea rates by passing the GST impact of Rs135/bag to the farmers. Industry sources said that, after incorporating this price change, retail price has jumped by Rs1083 a bag or 117 percent in first 10 months of 2011. Ex-factory urea prices have increased by more than Rs890 per bag (up 99 percent) in 2011YTD Experts said that though the fertilizer stocks will rally in the short run as 2012 profits will go up by 40-45 percent from earlier estimates due to this urea price hike, but government reaction will be interesting to evaluate. Ahead of general election, the government may don't want to affect the farmer community due to this increase in their cost of production. So the government will either supply adequate gas to Engro's new plant or will continue to see urea price rising next year also. They said that plants with relatively less gas curtailment like FFC and Fatima will continue to be the major gainers while FFBL which is on Sui Southern gas network (lower gas curtailment than SNGPL network) would also benefit. They expected other fertilizer producers would also follow the suit to increase the price in next few weeks inline with past practice. Engro officials stated that Engro Fertilizer Limited (EFL) raised price on account of continued gas curtailment and outage concerns. They said that after incorporating Rs400/bag there is still an ample space for the further hike in local urea prices to match international prices. Experts said that the surge in fertilizers and DAP rates is actually a conspiracy of the fertilizers companies against the national export. They said that pesticide companies are befooling the farmers and stressed need for taking stern action against them. They rejected the withholding tax on agri produce, urging the government to mention weight and price on urea sacks. They said around 200 million bags are sold annually in the country but neither the price nor the weight is mentioned on any sack of DAP or urea. They demanded the government to direct all public sector banks to issue agri loans on soft terms for the enhancement of agri production in the province. They demanded of the government to review its agriculture policy through comprehensive debate and consultation with the stakeholders to ensure the food security in the larger interests of the progress and prosperity of the country. Meanwhile, Engro Corporation announced 9M2011 EPS of Rs14.2, up 27 percent YoY. Moreover, the result is also accompanied by second interim cash dividend of Rs2 per share taking cumulative payout to Rs4 per share so far in 2011. Meanwhile, reacting on the 'news item that SNGPL has started supplying gas to Pak Arab Fertilizer plant on political influence, Engro Fertilizer said that it did not agree with this statement. It said that Engro Fertilizers supports the industrys stance on full supply of gas to the sector.