UPDATE 3-Potash Corp slashes outlook as sales slump

Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:17pm EDT
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(Adds CEO comments)

By Rod Nickel

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan reported its weakest quarter in three years on Thursday and cut its full-year outlook more than expected amid slumping sales of the key fertilizer ingredient.

Last summer's breakup of rival Belarusian Potash Co (BPC) has roiled the potash market, leaving North America's Canpotex Ltd, owned by Potash Corp, Mosaic Co and Agrium Inc , as the last potash trading partnership with global clout.

Russia's Uralkali OAO quit its BPC export partnership with Belaruskali and said it would seek to maximize production, causing prices to fall.

Potash Corp Chief Executive Officer Bill Doyle said Uralkali's move was "the single dumbest thing" he has ever seen and has harmed the Russian miner's reputation. It has also damaged Potash Corp's performance as buyers delay purchases, gambling that prices will fall further.

"We know especially since the Uralkali announcement that (fertilizer buyers) have been hand to mouth worldwide" with their purchases, Doyle said on a call with analysts. "People have been absolutely very careful, risk-averse, because they're uncertain."

A spokeswoman for Uralkali declined to comment.

Shares of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp, the world's largest fertilizer supplier and biggest producer of the crop nutrient by capacity, dropped as much as 5.5 percent in New York before paring losses.   Continued...