(Corrects paragraph 4 to show the latest results include a pretax recovery of 26 cents a share related to stock-based compensation, not an expense)
* Q2 EPS $3.20 vs $2.35 year ago
* Q2 revenue rises 7 pct to $4.37 bln
Aug 4 (Reuters) - Canadian fertilizer maker Agrium Inc AGU.TO reported a rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday, aided by higher retail crop nutrient gross profit and wholesale potash sales volumes.
Agrium said strong agricultural fundamentals should support the outlook for all crop inputs in the second half of the year. It also expects North American crop nutrient demand to be strong in that period at both the grower and retail level.
Agrium’s second-quarter profit rose to $506 million, or $3.20 a share, from $370 million, or $2.35 a share, a year earlier.
The latest results include a pretax recovery of 26 cents a share related to stock-based compensation and a pretax gain of 4 cents a share on natural gas and other hedge positions.
Revenue at the Calgary-based company rose 7 percent to $4.37 billion. Potash sales volumes soared to 529,000 tonnes, from 61,000 tonnes last year.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of $2.77 a share, on revenue of $4.17 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The global recession and a collapse in grain prices hurt fertilizer demand in 2009, but farmers have begun to restore their soil nutrient levels this year, benefiting Agrium and other suppliers.
Last week, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO, the world’s largest fertilizer producer, said second-quarter profit more than doubled as sales volumes quadrupled, offsetting lower prices for the crop nutrient. [ID:nN28198150]
Shares of Agrium closed at C$65.08 Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Savio D’Souza in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)