08 February 2012 13:15 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Agrium’s 2011 fourth-quarter consolidated net earnings from continuing operations soared to $327m from $152m in the same period the year before, as the company saw higher profits across its business units, the Canada-based agribusiness firm said on Wednesday.
The results included a $61m (€46m) charge resulting from an impairment of Agrium's investment in Canada-headquartered fertilizer firm Hanfeng Evergreen, it added.
Sales for the three months ended 31 December grew 32% year on year to $3.18bn, Agrium said.
"Our earnings from continuing operations were more than double last year's level and we generated over $1bn in cash this [fourth] quarter," said Mike Wilson, Agrium president and CEO.
“These impressive results were achieved despite global economic uncertainties that impacted commodity prices and led to buyer uncertainty in the later part of the year,” he added.
“We believe that the underlying fundamentals for the agriculture sector remain strong as crop inventory levels for most crops remain well below normal levels and in some cases are critically low," said Wilson.
Agrium’s retail segment saw its 2011 fourth-quarter sales increase sharply to $1.84bn from the $1.33bn in sales for the fourth quarter of 2010. The increase was partly helped by strong price appreciation for nutrients and increased demand for other crop input products and services, the company said.
Sales in the group’s wholesale's segment were at $1.45bn in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with sales of $1.16bn reported in the same period of 2010, on the back of higher prices and margins across all three major crop nutrients and strong sales volumes.
Agrium added that its advanced technologies business saw sales in the fourth quarter rise 47% year on year to $146m.
For the full year of 2011, Agrium’s net earnings from continuing operations almost doubled to $1.51bn from $730m in 2010, while sales grew 44% year on year to $15.47bn.
($1 = €0.75)
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