CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Canada's Agrium profit beats Street helped by higher grain prices

Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:40pm EST
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(Corrects nitrogen sales in paragraph 8 to 879,000 tonnes from 879 tonnes and potash sales volumes in paragraph 9 to 19,000 tonnes from 19 tonnes)

Feb 23 (Reuters) - Canadian fertilizer and farm retail dealer Agrium Inc reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit helped by higher prices for most grains and oilseeds.

The company also forecast 2015 profit to be $7 to $8.50 per share. Analysts on average expect a profit of $7.55 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Agrium's U.S.-listed shares rose 2 percent in after-hours trading.

Prices of corn, wheat and soybean rose in the fourth quarter, despite a decreasing commodity price environment, the company said.

Agrium is North America's biggest retail seller of seed, fertilizer and chemicals directly to farmers and is also a producer of nitrogen, potash and phosphate fertilizer.

Rival CF Industries Holdings Inc on Tuesday reported lower fourth-quarter profit and said costs of its nitrogen capacity expansion had risen by 10 percent.

Agrium, in November, said it would cut 500 jobs and look to sell several noncore businesses as it aimed to find $475 million in savings by 2017.

The fourth-largest global producer of nitrogen sold 879,000 tonnes of wholesale nitrogen products in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, down 3 percent from a year ago.   Continued...