(Corrects Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S earnings estimate to $7.01 per share from $7.03 in second paragraph)
Feb 9 (Reuters) - Agrium Inc , a Canadian fertilizer and farm products retailer, forecast lower-than-expected profit for 2016, blaming weak prices.
The company said it expects to earn $5.50-$7.00 per share in 2016, slightly below analysts average estimate of $7.01, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
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 company said its sales volumes rose in the in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, but weaker prices dragged down total sales.
Agrium’s sales fell 11 percent to $2.41 billion, missing analysts’ estimate of $2.85 billion.
The company’s net earnings from continuing operations more than tripled to $200 million, or $1.45 per share, helped by lower costs at its wholesale business and higher earnings from its retail division.
Excluding items, it earned $1.52 per share, above analysts average estimate of $1.38. (Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)