Nutrien beats quarterly profit estimates on robust North America demand

Storage facility at Nutrien’s Rocanville, one of Canada’s lowest-cost potash mines. (Image courtesy of Nutrien (Former Potash Corp.)

Nutrien, the world’s biggest fertilizer producer, beat first-quarter profit estimates on Wednesday, on strong demand for crop nutrients from North America owing to early planting and lower inventory.

The company’s US-listed shares were up 1% at $55.99 in aftermarket trade.

An early start to spring planting season in the region helped fertilizer demand, according to RBC Capital Markets analysts.

Adjusted core profit at Nutrien Ag Solutions, the company’s retail segment, was at $77 million in the reported quarter, compared with an adjusted core loss of $34 million a year ago.

Quarterly sales volumes for crop nutrients, its biggest segment, was at 1.46 million tonnes in North America, up 22.5% from a year ago.

Net earnings, however, stood at $165 million in the quarter, down 71.4% from the previous year, due to low demand in South America.

Reuters had reported that the company is mulling divestments in South America, replacing management and halting an acquisition spree in Brazil after steep losses in the region.

Since April last year, at least eight senior executives or managers were fired or had quit the company, including members of Brazil’s entire supply management team, CEO and chief financial officer for Latin America.

Nutrien’s troubles in South America emerged with fertilizer companies struggling with volatility in global markets, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent prices skyrocketing in 2022 only to collapse the following year as farmers held off on purchases and global supplies stabilized.

The world’s biggest fertilizer producer reported an adjusted profit of 46 cents per share for the quarter ended March 31, compared with analysts’ average estimate of 39 cents per share, according to LSEG data.

(By Tanay Dhumal; Editing by Mohammed Safi Shamsi)


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