September 30, 2008 / 6:16 PM / 10 years ago

Chile fertilizer exporter SQM sees record 3rd quarter

SANTIAGO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Chile’s Soquimich (SQM), a leading exporter of potassium-based fertilizers and world No. 1 producer of lithium and iodine, said Tuesday it was on course for a record third quarter on higher-than-expected revenue.

SQM (SQM.N) SQM_pb.SN said the outlook for the company’s sales had improved, particularly in the areas of iodine and lithium, an element used to make batteries.

“Based on the sales we have accomplished so far, our current projections indicate that we will achieve record results in the third quarter,” Chief Executive Patricio Contesse said. “Furthermore, we believe this trend will continue into the fourth quarter and next year.”

SQM stock rocketed to 27,012 pesos in June, more than tripling its price of 8,858 pesos at the beginning of the year, but with recent market turmoil its price has fallen to 13,599 pesos, paring its gain for the year to about 54 percent.

The company’s first-half net profit more than doubled to $190.5 million, as sales rose more than 40 percent to $787 million.

On Tuesday, SQM stock rose 5.76 percent to 13,800 pesos on the Santiago Stock Exchange.

SQM announced in July it would invest some $1 billion from 2008 through 2010 to expand production capacity in all three areas, with investment financed mainly by internal cash flows.

SQM said iodine and nitrate capacity would increase 25 percent by the end of 2012, and its current annual lithium carbonate capacity would increase from 30,000 tonnes to about 40,000 tonnes by the third quarter of this year. (Reporting by Lisa Yulkowski, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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