UPDATE 2-CF Industries profit falls 42 pct as nitrogen sales slip

Mon Nov 4, 2013 5:42pm EST
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By Rod Nickel

Nov 4 (Reuters) - U.S. fertilizer producer CF Industries reported a 42 percent drop in quarterly profit on Monday as nitrogen sales and prices slipped, due to weak global fertilizer markets.

Lower fertilizer prices, combined with buyer expectations that they will fall further, and competition from a high volume of Chinese nitrogen exports, resulted in a weaker quarter year-over-year, the company said.

Part of the global uncertainty and slowdown in fertilizer sales was triggered by the midsummer breakup of Belarusian Potash Company and forecast by potash producer Uralkali OAO for lower potash prices.

Shares of CF, the world's No. 2 nitrogen fertilizer maker behind Norway's Yara International ASA, dipped 0.3 percent after normal trading hours in New York. The stock had closed at $217.63.

Net earnings for the third quarter fell to $234.1 million, or $4.07 per share, from $403.3 million, or $6.35 per share a year ago, the company said on Monday after markets closed.

Net sales for the Deerfield, Illinois company fell 19 percent to $1.1 billion.

Analysts had on average expected CF to earn $4.00 a share on sales of $1.14 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.   Continued...