Mosaic Quarterly Profit Skyrockets, Shares Soar


Crop nutrient producer Mosaic Friday posted fiscal third-quarter earnings that trounced expectations, boosted by increased worldwide demand and prices for phosphates and potash, sending shares up more than 7 percent in pre-market trade.

Mosaic , along with its peers have benefited in recent months from a global boom in the agricultural sector, spurred by increased food demands from developing countries and a sharp increase in corn-based ethanol production in the United States.

Net income in the period ended Feb. 29, rose to $520.8 million, or $1.17 a share, from a year-ago profit of $42.2 million, or 10 cents a share.

Revenue in the period rose 68 percent to $2.15 billion.

Analysts, on average, had forecast earnings of 95 cents a share, on revenue of $1.99 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

"We are bullish on the fundamental drivers of our sector and see this momentum continuing," said Chief Executive Jim Prokopanko, in a statement.

Last month, Canpotex, which handles potash exports from the Saskatchewan region for Potash , Agrium and Mosaic, inked a deal to supply Indian customers with potash for $625 per ton.

The 2008 contract price is more than double the year ago contract price.

Mosaic also announced a long-term potash capacity expansion plan in Saskatchewan, Canada in response to robust global demand for the crop nutrient.

Mosaic said the new expansions, together with those announced in May 2007, are expected to increase its annual potash capacity by about 5.1 million metric tons.

Shares of Mosaic which closed Thursday at $104.52 rose to $112.25 in trade before the morning bell.