UPDATE 2-Mosaic sees record 2015 global phosphate, potash sales; profit jumps

Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:35am EDT
 
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(Adds 2015 outlook)

By Ashutosh Pandey and Rod Nickel

Oct 30 (Reuters) - Mosaic Co on Thursday forecast record-high global phosphate and potash shipments in 2015 despite concerns that weak crop prices would reduce farmers' fertilizer purchases.

The Plymouth, Minnesota-based company's quarterly profit jumped 63 percent as it sold more phosphate at higher prices, but the results missed analysts' estimates.

The world's largest producer of finished phosphate products said 2015 global shipments look to reach 64.5 million to 66.5 million tonnes, up from 64 million to 65 million this year. Mosaic forecast global shipments of potash, which it mines in Western Canada, would increase to between 58 million and 60 million tonnes from 57 million to 58 million.

Corn and wheat prices plunged this autumn to multiyear lows amid a huge but delayed U.S. harvest. Those factors have caused farmers to back off on fertilizer purchases, especially of potash and phosphate, U.S. retailers say.

"Yeah, there's ups and downs, dips and valleys, but the trend is unrelenting," said Chief Executive Officer Jim Prokopanko. "It is upward."

Dan Basse, president of research company AgResource said on Wednesday in Winnipeg that lower profitability would lead farmers to reduce their biggest expenses, such as seed, nitrogen fertilizer and land.

"We have farmers in the United States this upcoming crop year that will try to get by without using much fertilizer," Basse said.   Continued...