Potash Corp forecasts bleak year ahead, slashes dividend

Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:41pm EST
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By Rod Nickel and Narottam Medhora

(Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO POT.N forecast its bleakest year in a decade and slashed its dividend, due to tanking fertilizer prices.

Shares of Potash Corp, which also reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, bounced off earlier losses, climbing 1.9 percent in New York by afternoon. On Monday they tumbled to a nine-year low.

Potash prices have fallen under pressure from bloated capacity, soft grain prices and weak currencies in consumers such as India and Brazil. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp suspended operations at its newest mine this month.

The world's biggest fertilizer company by capacity lowered its quarterly dividend by 34 percent to 25 cents per share.

"The real story is how poor 2016 guidance is due to weak potash fundamentals and a 34 percent dividend cut may not be deep enough," BMO analyst Joel Jackson said in a note.

The company forecast 2016 earnings of 90 cents to $1.20 per share. The midpoint, $1.05, would be the smallest profit in 10 years.

Analysts on average were expecting $1.33, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"Weaker fertilizer prices late in the year reduced our earnings for the quarter, giving rise to a more cautious outlook," Chief Executive Jochen Tilk said in a statement.   Continued...

Jochen Tilk attends the company's annual general meeting in Saskatoon, May 15, 2014. REUTERS/Derek Mortensen