April 25, 2012 / 1:17 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Mosaic sees fertilizer sales at forecast's top end

* Fertilizer demand 'increased sharply' in fiscal Q4
    * Shares up more than 5 percent in morning trading

 (Updates with opening stock price)	
    By Ernest Scheyder	
    April 25 (Reuters) - Mosaic Co said it now expects
fertilizer sales to be at the top end of a previously announced
forecast, news that sent the company's stock up more than 5
percent.	
    In the past month demand for fertilizer has "increased
sharply," the company said in a statement on Wednesday, driven
by a strong early North American spring season and rising
shipments to South America.	
    Mosaic had previously forecast fiscal fourth quarter potash
sales of 1.7 million to 2.2 million tonnes, and phosphate sales
of 2.3 million to 2.7 million tonnes.	
    Given the strong demand, Mosaic said sales will now be at
"the upper end of the guidance ranges."	
    The updated forecast comes after Mosaic warned in March that
farmers were waiting until the last minute to buy fertilizer
because of high prices. 	
    Chief Executive Jim Prokopanko said at the time he expected
farmers to eventually bulk up on fertilizer -- it's crucial for
plant growth -- and was "confident" of a strong April and May.
 	
    Wednesday's news shows that despite high prices, farmers bit
the bullet and bought fertilizer in droves during the past four
weeks. 	
    Potash and phosphate -- Mosaic's two main products -- are
the second- and third-most important fertilizers that farmers
apply, after nitrogen.	
    The updated forecast validates the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's estimate for 2012 to see the largest U.S. corn
crop in 75 years. 	
    After actual seeds in the ground, fertilizer application is
the most-potent indicator planting will be strong.     	
    Shares of the Minnesota-based company rose 5.3 percent to
$53.13 in morning trading after the announcement. The stock has
traded between $44.86 and $77.08 in the past 52 weeks.	
    The company's fiscal year ends June 30.	
    Shares of rivals also rose after the news, with CF
Industries Holdings Inc up 3.3 percent and Potash Corp
 up 3.7 percent in morning trading.	
	
 (Reporting By Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick
and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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