Weak Asian Sales Hit Potash Corp. Results

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Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE: POT) reported third-quarter 2012 results before markets opened this morning. The fertilizer maker posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.74 on revenues of $2.14 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.94 on revenues of $2.32 billion. Third-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.78 and $2.05 billion in revenues.

The company’s CEO noted:

Strong demand in North America and Latin America demonstrated the powerful motivators in place for farmers today, although not all global potash markets moved as quickly to capitalize on these favorable conditions. While Chinese and Indian customers have not engaged consistently, their need for improved soil fertility to increase food production has not subsided.

Potash Corp. also lowered its full-year EPS forecast to a new range of $2.40 to $2.60. The consensus estimate had called for EPS of $3.17, so this is a substantial change. The company expects shipments of potash to improve in North America, to remain at last year’s record highs in Latin America and to fall in Asia. The company expects to see potash shipments to Asia, particularly China and India, improve in 2013.

The company also expects to experience higher costs in the fourth quarter, primarily due to the rising cost for natural gas. The fertilizer industry has been a big beneficiary of the recent extremely low natural gas prices.

In Las Vegas, net revenues totaled $388 million, up 11.8% from the same period a year ago. Casino revenues rose to $155.6 million, up 22.6% year-over-year, slot machine handle rose 7.4%, and non-casino revenues rose 5.3% year-over-year.

Potash Corp.’s shares are down 1.5% in premarket trading today, at $39.98, in a 52-week range of $36.73 to $51.96. The consensus target price for the shares was around $50.00 before today’s report.

Paul Ausick

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