Jan 30 (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan , the world's biggest fertilizer company, on Thursday reported a sharply lower quarterly profit and produced 2014 forecasts that are below the estimates of Wall Street analysts.
The company's disappointing outlook shows that the global potash market has far to go to recover from a slide in prices, due to years of soft demand, burgeoning supplies and last summer's breakup of rival Belarusian Potash Company.
Shares of Potash Corp, the world's biggest producer of the crop nutrient by capacity, dropped more than 4 percent in New York before normal trading hours.
Potash said it expected a first-quarter profit of 30 to 35 cents per share, compared with the analysts' average estimate of 48 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
For the full year 2014, the company forecast a profit of $1.40 to $1.80 a share. That would be even lower than its performance during the disappointing past year, when it earned $2.04 per share, and the outlook fell well below the analysts' average 2014 view of $2.00 earnings per share.
Net earnings for the fourth quarter fell 45 percent to $230 million, or 26 cents per share, from $421 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier. Those results included $60 million in severance-related costs, or 5 cents per share, after the company cut its workforce by 18 percent.
Revenue dropped to $1.54 billion.
Analysts on average expected Potash Corp to earn 33 cents a share in the fourth quarter on sales of $1.357 billion.