Potash Corp boosts outlook as profit soars

Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:35pm EDT
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By Roberta Rampton

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan boosted its 2008 forecast on Thursday after it said it more than tripled its second-quarter earnings as record grain markets spurred demand for fertilizer.

Chief Executive Bill Doyle said record potash prices have not peaked and demand has not abated, even though benchmark U.S. corn futures prices have plunged 25 percent in the past month.

"We don't see any signs of demand destruction for potash," Doyle told analysts on a conference call.

"We have the opposite problem, which is we have so much demand it is exceeding the current supply, and that looks to continue" through 2009, he said.

The world's largest fertilizer company said it earned $905.1 million, or $2.82 a share, for the quarter ended June 30, up from $285.7 million, or 88 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates had expected a profit of $2.61 a share. Potash Corp had forecast earnings of $2.20 to $2.50 a share in April.

The company's stock jumped as much as 4 percent to C$211, on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, but later retreated to C$198.80, down C$3.43, late in the session.

Potash Corp also raised its full-year forecast to $12 to $13 per share, from its April estimate of $9.50 to $10.50, in light of recent price hikes. It expects to earn $3.25 to $3.75 a share in the third quarter.   Continued...