Potash Corp says fertilizer outlook still strong

Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:40pm EDT
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By Roberta Rampton

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan continues to see strong demand for fertilizer at higher prices and has not seen any substantive changes in business conditions since its July forecast, the company's chief financial officer said on Wednesday.

The company's stock has dropped more than 30 percent since it peaked in mid-June because commodities have fallen out of favor with investors, said CFO Wayne Brownlee at a Credit Suisse investor conference in New York.

"For all the noise that's out there in financial markets, agricultural markets and fertilizer markets, our business is going fine," Brownlee said.

Potash Corp, the world's largest fertilizer company, said in July that it expected full-year earnings of $12 to $13 per share, up from an April estimate of $9.50 to $10.50.

Potash shares were up 2.6 percent at C$179.36 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The company said last week it would buy back up to 10 percent of its float because the shares are undervalued.

Potash prices have more than tripled to levels above $1,000 a tonne this year and inventories have been stretched to record-thin levels.

At one point last week, there was only 75,000 tonnes of inventory in North America at a time when there should have been 1 million tonnes, Brownlee said.   Continued...