Nutrien cuts profit forecast on weak fertilizer demand

(Reuters) – Canadian fertilizer maker Nutrien Ltd missed third-quarter profit estimates and cut full-year earnings forecast this week, as it battled lower demand for its crop nutrients.

Agricultural companies have seen their profits hammered by harsh weather that delayed planting season in North America and a trade war fueled uncertainty that has crimped crop demand.

“Nutrien’s third-quarter results and fourth-quarter expectations are impacted by short term market softness. However, we believe that agriculture fundamentals are starting to strengthen and we expect 2020 to be a strong year for crop input demand for which we are well positioned to benefit,” Chief Executive Officer Chuck Magro said in a statement.

Separately, rival Mosaic Co also missed adjusted profit estimates due to lower prices for phosphate.

Nutrien, the world’s largest potash producer by capacity, lowered its annual potash sales volume forecast to 11.6 million tonnes to 12 million tonnes from a previous projection of 12.6 million tonnes to 13 million tonnes.

The company said in September it planned inventory shutdowns at three potash mines in response to a short-term slowdown in global potash markets.

Nutrien reduced its 2019 adjusted net earnings expectations to $2.30 to $2.55 per share, from $2.70 to $3.00 it previously forecast.

Net income attributable to shareholders was $141 million, or 24 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $1.04 billion, or $1.70 per share, a year earlier when it took a charge related to its New Brunswick potash plant.

Adjusted net income came in at 24 cents per share, missing analysts’ estimates of 39 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Sales rose 3.6% to $4.13 billion.

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