Oct. 23, 2014, 6:08 AM
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. 23, 2014, 3:36 PM
- Canadian fertilizer makers Agrium (AGU +2.4%) and Potash (POT +0.2%) say they are bracing for a pullback in demand from U.S. farmers due to sliding crop prices, but that any slump is unlikely to be severe.
- Agrium CEO Chuck Magro tells an investor conference that he expects record U.S. yields should support relatively strong fertilizer applications in Q4 2014 and H1 2015, but "near-perfect weather" already has limited sales of chemicals that protect crops from disease and insects.
- Potash CFO Wayne Brownlee says he assumes some reduction in U.S. potash use after this year's harvest, but notes that the crop nutrient makes up only ~3.5% of a farmer's total costs.
- Investor presentations: AGU, POT.
Sep. 17, 2014, 3:41 PM
- Potash Corp. (POT +0.5%) may boost its production capacity to as much as 11M metric tons of potash next year from ~9.2M tons this year on signs that demand for the crop nutrient may rise, CFO Wayne Brownlee says today in an investor presentation.
- "Given some of the supply constraints we’ve seen in some of our competitors, there may be room for us to have increased volume," the CFO says.
- Brownlee estimates global potash sales will total 58M-59M tons this year, with the same range or possibly increasing slightly in 2015.
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. 12, 2014, 8:00 AM
Sep. 12, 2014, 7:51 AM
- Potash (NYSE:POT) says it has rescued the last of 96 miners trapped after a fire in one of its Saskatchewan potash mines, after some of them had spent more than 24 hours underground.
- Fire broke out Wednesday in a water truck inside POT's Allan mine, and the workers were sent to underground refuge stations while a crew entered the mine and put out the fire.
- POT says it will assess the situation before deciding when to resume mining.
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.
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.
Jul. 24, 2014, 8:19 AM
- Potash Corp. (NYSE:POT) +2.8% premarket after posting big Y/Y declines in Q2 earnings and revenues, but results beat expectations and POT raised its earnings guidance for the year.
- POT says its H2 outlook has improved after record H1 demand, prompting it to raise its global potash shipment expectations to 56.5M-58M metric tons.
- Issues upside guidance for FY 2014, now seeing EPS of $1.70-$1.90 from its previous view of $1.50-$1.80 and $1.67 analyst consensus estimate; expects Q3 EPS of $0.35-$0.45 vs. $0.40 consensus.
- Says it remains on track to achieve its 2014 target of reducing per-ton cash costs by $15-$20 from 2013 levels, although Q3 will reflect normal seasonal increases as required maintenance downtime is completed.
- In Q2, POT says stronger performances from all three of its key nutrient segments improved, lower potash and nitrogen prices have rekindled demand, and cost efficiencies are helping the bottom line.
- Q2 gross margin fell to $747M from $979M in the year-ago period, with potash gross margin falling 36%; average potash prices were $263/metric ton, down from $356/ton from a year ago but up from $250 in Q1.
Jul. 24, 2014, 6:02 AM
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. 8, 2014, 6:57 PM
- New Potash (POT) CEO Jochen Tilk says he will stick with the company's focus on supporting the price of potash by matching output to demand, rather than maximizing sales volume to fend off competition.
- In his first interviews with the media since becoming CEO, Tilk also seeks to reassure investor concerns about the appointment of an outsider with no fertilizer industry experience, citing his 30 years in the mining industry and the experience of current POT staff.
- Tilk is known for operating mines as efficiently as possible, which analysts say is needed at the current stage of the cycle; reducing operating costs is needed more than ever in a potash market awash in supply and trying to find its footing after a volatile year.
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