Potash Corp drops bid for Israel Chemicals
In addition to Chinese and Indian potash sales, high prices for nitrogen, the main fertilizer used in the United States, helped lift profits, although cool weather during the start of the spring crop planting season has delayed demand.
The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company, which has more potash production capacity than any other producer, also sells phosphate, another fertilizer ingredient.
The strong first quarter followed a dismal second half of 2012, when a lengthy holdout by Chinese and Indian importers hammered profits of North American potash producers.
First-quarter net profit rose to $556 million, or 63 cents per share, from $491 million, or 56 cents, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had estimated profit at 59 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, while the company had forecast a profit of 50 cents to 65 cents a share.
Potash Corp stood by its forecast for the year, though its second-quarter outlook was lower than most analysts expected. It forecast earnings per share for the second quarter of 70 cents to 85 cents, below analysts' average estimate of 89 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
It maintained its guidance for full-year 2013 earnings per share of $2.75 to $3.25, and global potash shipments of 55 million tonnes to 57 million tonnes.
Canpotex Ltd, the off-shore sales agency for Potash Corp, Mosaic Co and Agrium Inc, signed potash supply contracts with China on Dec. 31 and with India in early February. Demand was also strong from Brazil.