Potash's profit beats as potash sales rise, costs fall

A worker prepares a railcar to transport potash from the Potash of Saskatchewan Lanigan mine in Lanigan, Sasketchewan, Canada.
Geoff Howe | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A worker prepares a railcar to transport potash from the Potash of Saskatchewan Lanigan mine in Lanigan, Sasketchewan, Canada.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, the world's biggest fertilizer company by market capitalization, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by strong potash sales and lower costs.

The company's U.S.-listed shares rose 1.3 percent premarket.

Potash Corp, the second-biggest potash producer by output after Russia's Uralkali OAO, said on Thursday that improving phosphate market conditions are expected to support better results in 2015.

The company reported a quarterly profit of 49 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 46 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Potash gross margin jumped 95 percent to $445 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

Revenue rose 23.4 percent to $1.90 billion.

Potash said it expected to sell 9.2-9.7 million metric tons of potash in 2015, compared with last year's 7.1 million tonnes. The company expects global shipments to range between 58-60 million tonnes in 2015.

The company said it expected full-year 2015 profit of $1.90 to $2.20 per share. Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $2.12 per share.

Rival Mosaic forecast higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit earlier this month, while Canadian fertilizer company Agrium Inc said it would buy back shares and pay a larger percentage of free cash flow as dividends.

Potash's shares closed at $36.20 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.