Potash Corp cuts output, forecasts as prices slump; shares drop

Thu Oct 29, 2015 4:05pm EDT
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By Shubhankar Chakravorty and Rod Nickel

(Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) (POT.N: Quote) said on Thursday it would cut production and trim its full-year earnings and sales forecasts, as volatile currencies and economic pressures weigh on demand for the crop nutrient potash.

The world's biggest fertilizer company by capacity reported an 11 percent drop in quarterly profit, also hurt by weak nitrogen prices and increased phosphate costs.

Potash Corp shares fell 2 percent in New York and 3 percent in Toronto, and are down about one-third this year.

The company lowered its full-year profit forecast to $1.55-$1.65 per share from $1.75-$1.95. Analysts, on average, had estimated $1.74 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Chief Executive Officer Jochen Tilk said the company would advance the planned closure of its Penobsquis, New Brunswick potash mine and temporarily shut production in December at three Saskatchewan mines.

Potash output in the fourth quarter will fall by nearly 500,000 tonnes, Tilk said, adding he did not expect to lay off employees.

It was unlikely Potash Corp will cut production further in 2016, but that depends on prices, Tilk said in an interview.

Potash Corp's results and revised outlook point to a deeper-than-expected slump in the potash market, said Alta Corp Capital analyst Peter Prattas.   Continued...

PotashCorp load-out supervisor at the Cory Mine, examines potash inside one of the storage facilities near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan October 10, 2013.   REUTERS/David Stobbe