Oct. 16, 2014, 2:14 PM
- Ten of 12 U.S. farm retail companies surveyed by Reuters say fertilizer sales this autumn are lower than they were last year, as farmers respond to a drop in crop prices to multi-year lows and a delayed harvest.
- Reductions in fertilizer use of an estimated 10%-50% by volume could hit profits of producers such as Potash Corp. (POT -1.1%) and Mosaic (MOS -0.7%) since U.S. buyers typically pay a premium for some fertilizers such as potash.
- Some U.S. dealers say there is still time for fertilizer sales to recover to last year's levels once farmers complete the harvest, but others fear a slump that could stretch into 2015 as low crop prices push purchases out of reach.
Oct. 2, 2014, 2:59 PM
- Fertilizer producers are mostly lower after Agrium (AGU -1.9%) announced weak guidance for H2 of its FY 2014: POT -2%, MOS -0.9%, OTCPK:YARIY -2.8%, IPI -2.3%, RNF -1.2%, but CF +2.4%.
- Canaccord and Piper Jaffray downwardly revised their 12-month price targets for the stock, by a respective 1.9% to $102 while reiterating a Buy rating and by 4.2% to $92 while maintaining a Neutral rating; however, BMO and RBC each reiterated their Outperform ratings on the stock with respective target prices of $99 and $115.
- Jim Cramer thinks AGU's woes could reverberate throughout the ag sector, at least in the near-term, with selling possibly spread to the likes of Monsanto (MON -0.4%), Syngenta (SYT +0.1%), Deere (DE +0.1%) and Agco (AGCO +1%).
Oct. 1, 2014, 5:28 PM
- Agrium (NYSE:AGU) -4.5% AH after saying it expects Q3 EPS from continuing operations of $0.45-$0.55, below analyst consensus estimate of $0.74, and Q4 EPS from continuing operations to be similar to results from the year-ago Q4 adjusted EPS of $0.72, also below consensus of $1.03.
- AGU expects the EBITDA contribution from its wholesale operations in H2 2014 to be similar to last year's results, and H2 retail EBITDA is anticipated to be in-line with the record EBITDA achieved in the same period last year.
- Other fertilizer companies also are lower AH: POT -2.4%, MOS -1%, CF -0.3%.
Sep. 30, 2014, 9:40 AM
- Mosaic (MOS -2.1%) opens lower after saying it is reducing phosphate fertilizer production because of high sulfur and ammonia prices.
- MOS says the curtailment will result in lower operating rates at its mines and concentrates plants but does not expect any employee layoffs.
- MOS also says it expects Q3 potash and phosphate sales volumes to be at or near the lower end of previous guidance, due to weather-driven production outages in potash and by timing of shipments in phosphates; prices are expected to remain near the middle of guidance.
- POT -1.1%, AGU -0.9%, CF -0.2%, RNF -0.8%, RTK -1.7%.
Sep. 16, 2014, 5:55 PM
- The CEO of Russian potash firm Uralkali (OTC:URALL) says it has no plans to return to the sales arrangement it had with Belarus, WSJ reports.
- Share prices of major potash producers in North America, Germany and Israel have rallied this year, partly on hopes of a reconciliation, but Uralkali CEO Dmitry Osipov says no talks have been held since April and none are planned.
- However, potash prices have not fallen as much as some analysts had predicted following the breakup, due in part to better than anticipated demand from Brazil and China.
- On watch: POT, MOS, AGU.
Sep. 9, 2014, 9:16 AM
- Cowen analysts maintain their bearish stance on the agriculture industry and fertilizer stocks, expecting the large crop and significantly lower grain prices to pressure fertilizer prices.
- The firm lowers estimates on all ag names to reflect a reduced fertilizer forecast and downgrades Potash (NYSE:POT) to Underperform from Market Perform as well as Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) to Sector Perform from Outperform; POT -1% premarket.
- Also: CF, AGU, IPI, RNF.
Sep. 6, 2014, 8:43 AM
- The "total" yield of a company combines the dividend yield and the buyback yield - that is the yield boost from reducing the total amount of shares outstanding. Together with S&P's Howard Silverblatt, Barron's puts together a list of the top 20 companies in the S&P 500 based on "total" yield.
- While buybacks don't guarantee a strong stock - witness consistent buyback champs like IBM and Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) - Warren Buffett goes to bed at night praying for IBM's share price to go down so the company can buy back more stock for a given dollar amount (though The Oracle has said he doesn't expect this logic to win many fans).
- The flip-side are those companies - financials and energy come to mind - who tend to buy back stock at high prices only to find themselves forced to reissue it at lower prices when times get tough. A consistent plan helps, and Travelers (NYSE:TRV), under CEO Jay Fishman, has been maybe the best example of this - halving the share count since the end of 2006.
- ETFs? The Powershares Buyback Achievers Portfolio (NYSEARCA:PKW) gained 45.6% in 2013, 1,300 basis points better than the S&P 500. Since inception in 2006, it's up an annualized 9%, more than 200 basis points better than the S&P. A newcomer - the Cambria Shareholder Yield ETF (NYSEARCA:SYLD) - has beaten the S&P by about 250 basis points since its May 2013 inception.
- The list (ranked in order of "total" yield): ADT, CAM, CF, MOS, MPC, VIAB, GLW, ITW, STX, IBM, NOC, CTL, TRV, VRSN, IR, CCE, KSS, NTAP, HES, DO.
Aug. 28, 2014, 11:35 AM
- Uralkali (OTC:URALL) sees North American demand for potash rising to ~10M metric tons in 2014, matching the record level of 2010, as farmers boost production of crops.
- Consumption will be sustained at least through this fall as farmers replenish declining nutrient levels in the soil after crop production that reached an all-time high this year, Uralkali says; the region’s H1 demand was ~6M tons, up 30% Y/Y.
- Uralkali, competing with Potash Corp. (NYSE:POT), Agrium (NYSE:AGU) and Mosaic (NYSE:MOS), sells ~5% of its output in the U.S.
Aug. 14, 2014, 4:58 PM
Jul. 31, 2014, 7:03 AM
Jul. 23, 2014, 9:42 AM
- Mosaic (MOS -0.2%) discloses it will permanently halt production of muriate of potash produced at its Carlsbad, N.M., facility, citing ore quality and the age of its facilities which hurt its ability to compete in challenging market conditions.
- MOS says it plans to restructure its Carlsbad operations to exclusively produce another fertilizer, K-Mag, which is already the facility's main output, accounting for 70% of production.
- MOS expects the move to result in $135M-$160M in related pre-tax charges, with $55M-$75M reflected in Q3 and the rest in Q4.
Jul. 9, 2014, 10:52 AM
- Potash (POT -0.7%) is downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at J.P. Morgan, citing valuation with shares near the firm's unchanged price target of $38.
- JPM believes falling crop prices in anticipation of high domestic corn and soybean supplies could weigh on POT shares.
- The firm prefers Mosaic (MOS -0.9%), as it has a lower valuation than POT and it is more exposed to increases in potash prices as it produces similar tonnage to POT with less than half the number of outstanding shares.
Jul. 1, 2014, 8:20 AM
- Saudi Arabia's Ma'aden says it signed a $5B financing deal with commercial banks and a state-owned investment fund to back its $7.5B phosphate production project in the country.
- The project is a joint venture between Ma'aden, Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Mosaic (MOS), and is part of Saudi state efforts to create a stronger industrial base beyond oil refining and export.
- The project will have a production capacity of 16M metric tons/year of phosphate concentrate, sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, as well as plants to produce calcium monophosphate and calcium diphosphate; phosphate production expected to start in late 2016.
May 29, 2014, 4:28 PM
- Mosaic (MOS) says President and CEO James Prokopanko is taking a medical leave of absence for surgery to treat his previously disclosed cancer.
- Lawrence Stranghoener is appointed interim CEO; he has served as Executive VP and CFO since the company's formation in 2004.
- Richard Mack is named CFO, as Stranghoener intends to retire at the end of 2014.
May 15, 2014, 6:45 PM
May 6, 2014, 11:20 AM
- Mosaic (MOS -2.2%) will eliminate 500 jobs in the next 12 months, part of a plan to cut $500M in costs over five years, CEO Jim Prokopanko said in this morning's earnings conference call.
- The cuts are aimed at strengthening MOS' status as a low-cost phosphate producer and improving its relatively high cost position in potash.
- Prokopanko also says the dividend is secure and there are no plans to scale back the share repurchase program.
- Also heard during the call: Q2 outlook remains challenging but the company's future remains bright, MOS faces short-term containment issues in Canada, growing the Brazilian business is a key focus, and shipments are off to another fast start this year.
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