PotashCorp (NYSE:POT), the world's largest producer of potash, announced higher Q4 earnings on Wednesday but also a sharp decline in demand.
The company reported 78 cents per share or $683 million compared to 56 cents per share or $508 million earned in the same quarter of 2010. Potashcorp also reported that its sales volume had declined by one third, 1.6 million tonnes this year compared to 2.4 million tonnes a year ago.
Earnings were up due to a higher average realized price, $431 per tonne in the fourth quarter that was $108 per tonne higher than a year ago.
Potashcorp said a seasonal slowdown and macroeconomic uncertainty was to blame.
“The drag of global economic concerns shook the confidence of fertilizer buyers and caused a greater decline in fourth-quarter demand than we had anticipated,” said PotashCorp President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Doyle.
“However, we believe these short-term challenges do not change the more powerful drivers of our business. The return on fertilizer investment continues to be attractive to farmers world-wide and is expected to result in greater demand in the quarters ahead.”
Over the last six months the company has lost 20% of its value and is trading at $46.84 a share.