August 6, 2014 / 11:30 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Fertilizer dealer Agrium profit beats Street estimates

(Adds details on quarter)

Aug 6 (Reuters) - Canadian fertilizer and farm retail dealer Agrium Inc’s second-quarter profit beat Wall Street estimates due to the inclusion of sales from Viterra Inc’s retail centers.

Agrium received regulatory approval for its purchase of most of Viterra’s farm retail stores in Canada last September and completed the acquisition of its assets in October.

Agrium, already the biggest U.S. retail seller of fertilizer, chemicals and seed, acquired 13 Viterra locations in Australia in June.

Excluding one-time items, second-quarter earnings were $629 million, or $4.37 per share.

Analysts’ had estimated a profit of $4.11 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Agrium had forecast earnings per share for the busy second quarter at $3.85 to $4.35 from continuing operations.

Sales rose 6 percent to $7.34 billion, above analysts’ expectations for $7.18 billion.

Agrium is North America’s biggest retail seller of seed, fertilizer and chemicals directly to farmers and is also a producer of nitrogen, potash and phosphate fertilizer.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company has coped with unexpected downtime this year at several facilities.

Last Thursday, the company halted production at its lone potash mine, Vanscoy, due to a mechanical failure on its main hoist system at the underground mine in the Western Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Agrium said due to the outage it would bring forward a planned turnaround to tie-in its capacity expansion project and production at the facility will therefore remain shut down until the tie-in is complete.

Agrium’s Carseland, Alberta, nitrogen facility experienced a failure in its auxiliary boiler on March 22, resulting in an unplanned shutdown that cut the availability of urea and ammonia fertilizers.

Second quarter net earnings fell to $625 million, or $4.34 per share, from $744 million, or $5 per share a year ago. (Reporting By Kanika Sikka in Bangalore; Editing by Chris Reese, Bernard Orr)

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