UPDATE 2-Potash Corp profit falls, sees weaker second quarter

Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:02am EDT
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(Adds share activity, analyst comment, sales and price details)

By Rod Nickel

April 24, (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, the world's biggest fertilizer company, forecast on Thursday a weaker than expected second quarter after reporting a fall in first-quarter profit that wasn't as steep as the Street anticipated.

Potash Corp saw profits shrink last year as potash prices retreated due to softening grain values and the breakup last summer of Belarusian Potash Company, which was one of two dominant global potash traders.

Potash demand and spot market prices picked up during the first quarter, Potash Corp said, but its average realized price remained nearly one-third lower than a year ago.

Shares of Potash Corp gained 1.8 percent in pre-market activity in New York to $35.77, reacting to better than expected first quarter results, said Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Peter Prattas. The stock is up nearly 7 percent on the year.

For the second quarter, Potash said it expected earnings of 40 to 45 cents per share, falling short of the average Street view of 49 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"The takeaway for Q2 is that the guidance is below the Street view, but people may think (Potash Corp is) lowballing it since they beat on Q1," Prattas said.

Potash Corp raised the bottom end of its full year 2014 guidance to a range of $1.50 to $1.80 per share from the previous forecast of $1.40 to $1.80. Analysts were expecting full-year earnings of $1.65 per share.   Continued...