Canada's Agrium Q1 net earnings down 9% on pre-tax loss, payment

09 May 2012 13:08  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Agrium’s first-quarter consolidated net earnings fell by 9% year on year to $155m (€119m) due to a pre-tax loss and a payment expense, the Canada-based agribusiness company said on Wednesday.

Excluding these losses – $13m on natural gas and other hedge positions and a share-based payment expense of $64m – net earnings would have risen by 23% to $210m, Agrium said.

Sales in the quarter rose by 23% year on year to $3.63bn, while earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) from continuing operations were down by 5% to $246m.

Gross profit rose by 10% to $800m, mainly driven by the group’s Retail business unit.

"The benefits of Agrium's strong global position across the agricultural value chain were evident once again this quarter,” said president and CEO Mike Wilson.

"Crop prices remain well above historical levels, providing a strong economic incentive for growers to optimise use of all crop inputs in order to maximise their yields and profitability.”

The company's Wholesale operations are expected to benefit in the second quarter from rising nitrogen and falling North American natural gas prices, Wilson added.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Graeme Paterson
+44 20 8652 3214

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