May 9, 2012 / 11:58 AM / 6 years ago

Agrium profit falls on hedging losses, costs

(Reuters) - Fertilizer producer and retailer Agrium Inc’s AGU.TO quarterly profit fell on hedging losses and higher costs, including a more-than-five-fold rise in pre-tax share-based payments.

First-quarter profit fell to $155 million, or 97 cents per share, compared with $171 million, or $1.09 per share, a year earlier.

Sales rose 23 percent to $3.63 billion on higher sales volumes across the company’s product lines.

Agrium, which is a major producer of nitrogen-based fertilizers like ammonia and urea, said the results included a pre-tax loss of $13 million on hedge positions and a pre-tax share-based payment expense of $64 million, up from $12 million a year earlier.

Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium is also the largest North American retailer of agricultural inputs such as seeds, nutrients and crop protection chemicals.

Reporting by Aftab Ahmed in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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