The Mosaic Co. (NYSE: MOS) reported second-quarter fiscal 2013 results before markets opened this morning. The fertilizer maker reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.47 on revenues of $2.5 billion. In the same period a year ago, Mosaic reported EPS of $1.40 on revenue of $3 billion. This morning’s results compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $0.94 and $2.54 billion in revenue.
Quarterly profits were boosted by $0.42 a share due to a $179 million benefit related to unrecognized tax benefits. Excluding the one-time benefit, Mosaic’s EPS totaled $1.05.
The company’s CEO said:
In North and South America, we have been experiencing strong demand and sales underpinned by excellent application seasons. International shipments, however, were impacted by prolonged contract negotiations in India and China. With the settled China contract driving improved sentiment, we believe strong agricultural fundamentals will lead to strengthening crop nutrient markets.
Mosaic’s operating profit fell from $797 million in the second quarter a year ago to $560 million this year. The company blamed lower volumes and margins on its phosphate products. The drop of $500 million in net sales was also attributed to lower potash volumes.
Gross margins fell 2%, from 29% a year ago to 27% this year.
The company estimated that it will ship 55 to 57 million metric tons (tonnes) of potash this year and 63 million to 65 million tonnes of potash. At a realized price of $370 to $400 a tonne, gross margin in the third fiscal quarter “is expected to be lower … due to lower realized potash prices, … a higher mix of standard product, and continued sub-optimal operating rates.” Potash operations in the third quarter are forecast at 70% of capacity.
Shares are down 1.4% in premarket trading this morning, at $56.00 in a 52-week range of $44.43 to $61.98. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $84.50 before today’s results were announced.