Drop in potash prices send Mosaic profits down; demand expected to improve

(Reuters) — Mosaic has reported a 42 percent slump in quarterly profit as average realized prices of potash fell by more than 25 percent.


The company also said chief executive officer Jim Prokopanko, who has been on leave since May to undergo surgery to treat cancer, would re-sume his duties Aug. 4.


Potash producers have faced sharply lower prices and profits since last summer’s breakup of one of the world’s biggest potash traders, Belarusian Potash Co.


Potash Corp reported lower second quarter profit last month, but the results topped the company’s forecast.


Potash Corp net earnings fell to $472 million, or 56 cents per share, from $643 million, or 73 cents per share, a year earlier.


The lower prices have lately rekindled demand, said Larry Stranghoener, Mosaic’s interim CEO.


“We have long said we expected to see volumes increase before prices, and that scenario is playing out as anticipated,” he said.


“We expect demand to remain high throughout the year, and with low global pipeline inventory, prices should remain firm.


Mosaic’s sales of phosphate and potash were at the high end of its forecasts.


Net earnings attributable to the company fell to $248.4 million, or 64 cents per share, in the quarter, from $429.8 million, or $1.01 per share, a year earlier.