Wednesday, October 22nd12.2°C
23711
22952

Agrium Inc. first-quarter earnings drop 92 per cent amid record cold

CALGARY - Fertilizer producer and retailer Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) has reported a 92 per cent drop in profits for the first three months of the year as the North American farmers it serves dealt with a nastier than usual winter.

The Calgary-based company said consolidated net earnings from continuing operations were $12 million, or eight cents per share, compared with $146 million, or 98 cents per share, a year earlier.

"Agrium's first quarter is traditionally our seasonally lowest earnings quarter and this was exacerbated this year by the record cold winter across North America," CEO Chuck Magro said in a release.

"However, farmer sentiment is positive this spring and we are now seeing good demand for crop input products and services. Agrium achieved a record $788-million in operating cash flow this quarter despite the lower net earnings as we continue to focus on reducing working capital needs."

Agrium's outlook for the second quarter is much brighter, calling for between $3.85 and $4.35 in diluted earnings per share from continuing operations.

Sales during the first quarter dipped modestly to $3.08 billion from $3.16 billion a year earlier.

Expenses rose eight per cent to $503 million from $466 million.

The results included a $31-million share-based payment expense, which was offset by a gain of $32 million on natural gas hedging.

Major crop prices have been strengthening, thanks to strong demand and increased uncertainty over supply. That's good news for the fertilizers and other farm products Agrium provides, the company said.

But the start to the spring planting season in North America is later than normal because of cold, wet weather. The inability to get a record Western Canadian grain crop to market by rail has also been a challenge.

"The large North American crop in 2013, particularly in Canada, combined with the cold winter, have challenged rail and port transportation logistics so far in 2014," Agrium said.

"In some cases, the delayed start has allowed the crop nutrient supply chain more time for product to move to market. However, constrained logistical capacity is still expected to contribute to tight supply and demand balances within regional markets this season."

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23658


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14312.07-235.64
S&P CDNX808.00-14.28
DJIA16461.32-153.49
Nasdaq4382.847-36.632
S&P 5001927.11-14.17
CDN Dollar0.8897+0.0002
Gold1242.50-3.00
Oil80.08-0.05
Lumber330.70+2.00
Natural Gas3.662+0.003

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.12+0.02
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.15-0.02
Cantex0.055-0.025
Anavex Life Sciences0.198+0.006
Metalex Ventures0.05+0.005
Russel Metals32.53-0.56
Copper Mountain Mining2.10-0.07
Colorado Resources0.145-0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.013+0.001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05-0.01
Mission Ready Services0.405-0.055

 





FEATURED Property
20760354850 Rittich Road
3 bedrooms 1 baths
$630,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Keep it rubber side down

This time of year, I always worry about which friends of mine will get caught going off the road in adverse weather conditions. With a little preparation most accidents can be avoided. Having won the...


Big bank predicts rate hike

Photo: Thinkstock.comThe end of record-low rates is nigh, according to one major bank, which has taken a stance and predicted when the Bank of Canada will raise its long-standing overnight rate. &ldq...


Experts share strategies in Kelowna

The third week in October is “Small Business Week”, a week dedicated to supporting local, small businesses. The week was designed to bring awareness to Canadians about the role small busin...

_








Member of BC Press Council


22620