PotashCorp reports 1st-quarter earnings of $0.18 per share

Published 4:59 pm Sunday, April 30, 2017

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan — Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. reported first-quarter earnings of $0.18 per share ($149 million), up from $0.09 per share ($75 million) generated in the same period of 2016.

Gross margin for the quarter of $268 million surpassed the $234 million generated in the first quarter of 2016, primarily due to lower cost of goods sold for all three nutrients and increased potash sales volumes more than offsetting weaker phosphate prices. Similarly, cash from operating activities of $223 million exceeded 2016’s first-quarter amount of $188 million.

Weaker phosphate prices resulted in gross margin of $11 million for the quarter, significantly lower than the $39 million earned in 2016’s first quarter.

First-quarter sales volumes of 0.6 million tonnes trailed last year’s comparable total of 0.7 million tonnes, largely due to weaker demand for our liquid fertilizer products.

Average realized phosphate price for the quarter was $423 per tonne, down from $499 per tonne in the same period last year, reflecting lower benchmark pricing for all our products. Per-tonne cost of goods sold for the quarter was $406, down from $446 in the same quarter last year, primarily due to lower input costs and the absence of non-cash impairment charges ($27 million).

Strong demand is expected to continue through the remainder of the year. PotashCorp maintains its global shipments estimate of 61-64 million tonnes for 2017, above the approximately 60 million tonnes shipped in 2016, and expects supportive market fundamentals through the balance of this year.

In North America, we believe fertilizer affordability and the need to replenish soil nutrients following 2016’s record harvest will contribute to healthy demand at the farm level. We maintain our full-year shipment expectation in the range of 9.3-9.8 million tonnes, consistent with our previous estimate.