World’s fertilizer leader doubles profits on rising food prices

January 28th, 2011 - 12:09 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Jan 28 (IANS) Rising global food prices have spelt bonanza for the world’s biggest fertilizer company, Potash Corporation, which Thursday reported more than a two-fold increase in its profits during the fourth quarter.The Canadian company’s stock also jumped about three percent to $172.26 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Thursday on record profits. At the opening bell, the stock was selling more than $174.

In its fourth-quarter report, Potash Corporation reported earnings of $482.3 million ($1.61 per share), which is more than double of $239.2 million ($0.79 per share) earned in the same period last year. The company posted 65 percent jump in revenue to $1.81 billion during the period.

The fertilizer giant, which was the target of a takeover bid by Australian mining giant BHP Billiton with the offer $130 per share last year, said its performance was impacted by “takeover response costs (included in other income), which reduced earnings for the fourth quarter and full year by $0.16 per share and $0.18 per share, respectively.”

Based at Saskatoon in Saskatchewan province, Potash Corporation is the world leader in fertilizer output, producing all the three major crop nutrients - potash, nitrogen and phosphate. It accounts for 20 percent of potash-based fertilizers in the world.

With global food prices touching a new high and fuelling inflation, the Canadian giant expected a robust demand for fertilizers in the future as farmers seek to maximize crop production.

“With global food demand as the powerful engine, we believe we have moved into the next stage of growth for our business. Our company stands poised to capitalize on that growth and we believe our fourth-quarter results provide a glimpse of the capabilities and earning potential of our expanding world-class operations,’’said Potash Corporation president and CEO Bill Doyle.

“We enter 2011 with a sense of responsibility about the role our company will play in global food production and excitement for the earnings potential of PotashCorp,” he said.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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