UPDATE 2-Fertilizer maker Mosaic beats quarterly profit estimates

Tue Aug 4, 2015 12:26pm EDT
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(Adds interview with incoming CEO)

By Shubhankar Chakravorty and Rod Nickel

Aug 4 (Reuters) - U.S. fertilizer company Mosaic Co reported a much higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, helped by strong phosphates sales and improved potash prices.

Mosaic's shares rose 2.8 percent to $43.96 in New York.

Second-quarter net earnings climbed 57 percent to $390.6 million, or $1.08 per share.

On an adjusted basis, Mosaic, the world's largest producer of finished phosphate products, earned $1.05 per share, above the average analyst estimate of 89 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales rose 2 percent to $2.5 billion, in line with expectations.

Joc O'Rourke, currently chief operating officer, takes over as chief executive on Wednesday, succeeding Jim Prokopanko. The move completes the changing of the guard at North America's biggest fertilizer companies, following Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, Agrium Inc and CF Industries .

O'Rourke, 54, said in an interview that the company will keep its capital priorities of first sustaining existing businesses, followed by maintaining its dividend and growing internally; acquisition opportunities; and returning cash to shareholders.   Continued...