Agrium earnings sink on lower crop nutrient prices but shares +1.5%

|About: Agrium Inc. (AGU)|By:, SA News Editor

Agrium (AGU +1.7%) opens higher despite reporting a 72% drop in unadjusted Q4 earnings as the fertilizer company continued to grapple with lower crop nutrient prices in its wholesale operations.

Overall sales fell to $2.87B from $3.09B and below analyst estimates; wholesale sales fell 24% to $963M while retail sales added 6% to a record $2.1B, helped by the addition of Viterra's Canadian retail assets.

AGU cites cold weather during a period when U.S. farmers usually apply fertilizer to fields after harvest as the cause of the reduced crop nutrient sales.

Sold 907K metric tons of wholesale nitrogen products in Q4 at an average selling price of $458/metric ton vs. sales of 966K metric tons at an average $561 a year ago.

Sold 344K metric tons of wholesale potash in Q4 at an average price of $313/metric ton vs. 341K metric tons at an average $449 in the year-ago quarter.