Newspaper article The Canadian Press

PotashCorp Fourth-Quarter Profit Drops, Outlook Falls Short of Estimates

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

PotashCorp Fourth-Quarter Profit Drops, Outlook Falls Short of Estimates

Article excerpt

PotashCorp Q4 profit drops to $230 million

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SASKATOON - Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT) says its fourth-quarter profit dropped to US$230 million -- down 45 per cent from a year earlier as it took hits from lower fertilizer prices and downsizing.

The profit amounted to 26 cents per diluted share, including a US$60-million charge, or about five cents per share, for costs related to job cuts announced in December.

The Saskatoon-based company -- which is one of the world's largest producers of potash -- announced in December that it would cut its workforce by about 18 per cent, affecting 1,045 people.

The results for the company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, compared with a profit of US$421 million or 48 cents per diluted share a year ago.

Overall sales revenue fell to US$1.54 billion from $1.64 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, but was above the consensus estimate of $1.4 billion.

The company's earnings were below analyst estimates of 31 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The company's guidance for the first quarter of 2014 was for a profit between 30 and 35 cents U.S. per share, also well below estimates.

"This past quarter was a difficult one," PotashCorp CEO Bill Doyle said in a statement Thursday.

"Pricing headwinds -- most notably in potash -- weighed on our performance, although there were signs as the quarter came to a close that the uncertainty in global markets was beginning to abate."

"Our focus remained on those things we can influence and we took important steps to enhance our competitive position across all three nutrients and prepare the company to deliver better performance."

The company said Thursday that sales volumes were higher in the fourth quarter than in comparable periods, but that prices were lower for the potash, nitrogen and phosphate it sold.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Joel Jackson said the earnings results should put pressure on the company's stock. …

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