Canada Agrium Q2 net earnings rise 20%, sales rise 10%

03 August 2012 13:42  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Agrium’s second-quarter net earnings rose by 20% year on year to a record $860m (€706m) as sales increased by 10%, the Canadian fertilizer firm said in a statement issued late on Thursday.

Agrium said that sales for the three months ended 30 June were $6.83bn, up from $6.20bn in the same period a year ago.

“All three business units capitalised on the strong fundamentals in our sector, with retail and wholesale achieving their highest EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation] in history for both the second quarter and the first half of the year,” said CEO Mike Wilson.

Agrium’s nitrogen second-quarter gross profit rose 33% year on year to $431m because of higher realised sales prices and lower input costs.

However, nitrogen sales volumes fell 9% to 1.3m tonnes because of tighter opening domestic inventories of urea and weaker demand in Argentina, the company said.

Agrium’s second-quarter potash gross profit was $153m, down from $165m in the 2011 second quarter, because of lower domestic sales volumes – 285,000 tonnes, compared with 316,000 tonnes in the same period a year ago.

The potash volume decline was the result of softer North American market conditions and shipping delays during a strike at Canadian Pacific Railway, the company said. 

International potash sales volumes were 227,000 tonnes in the second quarter of 2012, matching those reported in the second quarter of 2011.

Phosphate gross profit was $42m in the second quarter of 2012, down from $83m in the 2011 second quarter, mainly because of lower sales prices, which were only partially offset by higher total phosphate sales volumes - 313,000 tonnes, compared with 259,000 tonnes in the same quarter a year ago.

"The impact of the severe drought in the US has resulted in very strong grain and oilseed prices, and we believe crop yields are likely to be revised downward again,” Wilson added.

“We expect high crop prices and tight grain inventories to create significant support for international nutrient demand in the coming year, as growers globally are expected to expand acreage and optimise application rates,” he said.

($1 = €0.82)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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