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Aug 5 (Reuters) - North American nitrogen fertilizer producers Agrium Inc and CF Industries reported on Wednesday higher second-quarter profits after markets closed.
Agrium's quarterly profit beat Street expectations for the Canadian company, while earnings for Illinois-based CF matched the average estimate.
Agrium's net earnings from continuing operations for the second quarter rose to $675 million, or $4.71 per share, from $625 million, or $4.34 per share a year ago.
On an adjusted basis, earnings were $701 million, or $4.90 per share. Analysts on average expected Agrium to earn $4.78 a share in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Agrium sales fell to $6.99 billion from 7.3 billion, versus expectations for $7.3 billion.
Agrium, however, lowered the top end of its 2015 profit forecast to a range of $7.00 to $7.50 from $7.00 to $8.25 per share, due to the impact of low crop prices on farmers, and second-half potash and phosphate prices that are expected to be lower than previous guidance.
CF's net earnings rose to $352 million or $1.49 per share from $313 million or $1.22 per share a year earlier.
Net nitrogen sales for the Deerfield, Illinois company fell to $1.31 billion from $1.45 billion.
Analysts had on average expected CF to earn $1.49 a share on sales of $1.3 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Chris Reese