Dec. 19, 2014, 2:54 PM
- Potash (POT +1.9%) is upgraded to Buy from Neutral with a $40 price target, up from $38, at UBS, citing the company's strong dividend and improving free cash flow.
- UBS says the planned closure of Mosaic's Carlsbad operations in Jan. 2015 and the current flood at Uralkali's Solikamsk-2 mine could remove 2.4M -3.4M metric tons of combined capacity from the market and provides an opportunity for POT to gain more volumes, which also could lead to higher pricing.
- POT’s dividend yields ~4%, and UBS believes it provides downside protection given that the dividend can be funded even if potash prices remain flat; the firm thinks that over time POT may be able to return excess cash to shareholders through an increased dividend or further share repurchases.
- Other potash producers are higher: MOS +2%, AGU +0.4%, IPI +2.6%.
Dec. 5, 2014, 10:56 AM
- Potash Corp. (POT +2.4%) is upgraded to Overweight from Neutral with a $40 target price, raised from $34, at J.P. Morgan, citing more favorable potash industry fundamentals and the company's declining investment spending.
- The firm expects POT to generate a 6.3% free cash flow yield in 2015 and a 7.1% free cash flow yield in 2016, as POT currently pays a 4% dividend.
- U.S. potash inventories are now 35% below their five year average, the firm says.
Nov. 26, 2014, 12:11 PM
- Potash producers Agrium (AGU -2.6%), Potash Corp. (POT -0.3%), Mosaic (MOS -0.2%), CF Industries (CF -1.3%) and Intrepid Potash (IPI -1.1%) continue to give back the gains that followed Uralkali’s mine suspension, and BofA Merrill's downgrade of AGU hasn't helped.
- While BofA remains positive on earnings from nitrogen, it believes potash is oversupplied and global demand growth could regress from 2014's ~11% pace.
- But Stifel analysts are not throwing in the towel on the potash producers, citing potash supply constraints from declining North American producer inventories as well as the potential for the permanent closure of the Russian mine offsetting the negative impact of potentially lower North American planted corn acreage.
Nov. 24, 2014, 7:45 AM
- Uralkali (OTC:URALL) is preparing to restart operations at half of its potash mine in Russia where work was halted last week after an accident, CEO Dmitry Osipov says.
- The governor of the Perm region where the Solikamsk-2 mine is located says the inflow of water at the mine had "practically stopped" and there is no danger to residents of the area, where a large sinkhole has formed.
- POT -2.6% premarket; also watch MOS, AGU, IPI.
Nov. 19, 2014, 3:58 PM
- Potash (POT +1.2%) is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with a $40 price target, up from $38.50, at Raymond James after troubles at a mine owned by Russia’s Uralkali forced its closure; in the event Uralkali’s capacity remains handicapped, the firm thinks POT could benefit from a tighter potash market.
- Fertilizer peer Mosaic (MOS +1.7%) is upgraded to Positive by Susquehanna, which believes its potash operating leverage is underappreciated by investors, as the shares went up less than POT yesterday in response to the Uralkali news even as MOS has more relative earnings leverage to an improvement in potash prices than POT.
- Earlier: CF Industries upgraded at Credit Suisse, which sees better industry position
Nov. 19, 2014, 9:55 AM
- A sinkhole is found near Uralkali's (OTC:URALL) Solikamsk-2 potash mine in Russia, where work was suspended yesterday after a water inflow.
- Uralkali does not know how seriously the mine at Solikamsk-2, which accounts for 20% of the company's capacity, would be affected, but a water inflow and resulting sinkhole in 2006 shut another Uralkali mine in the same region permanently.
- North American potash producer shares jumped 2%-5% yesterday, and are up early again today: POT +2.5%, MOS +2.4%, AGU +0.7%, IPI +2.3%.
Nov. 18, 2014, 11:25 AM
- Uralkali (OTC:URALL) shares fell by the most in a year after the potash miner suspended operations and evacuated workers from a potash mine in Russia’s Perm region because of an increase in brine inflow.
- The world’s biggest potash producer says it is monitoring the situation at the Solikamsk-2 mine, while its four other mines continue to operate normally.
- Uralkali's misfortune is sparking gains in North American potash producers: POT +5.1%, MOS +3.4%, AGU +3.4%, IPI +5%.
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.
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.
Apr. 24, 2014, 7:58 AM
- Potash Corp. (POT) +1.8% premarket after Q1 earnings and revenue beat analyst expectations and the company raises its sales outlook for the year.
- Q1's realized potash price was $250/metric ton, far below $363 from the same period last year, but low prices are helping to boost purchases, as sales volume rose to 2.3M metric tons vs. 2.2M a year ago.
- POT now expects to sell 8.3M-8.7M metric tons of potash this year, up slightly from earlier guidance of 8.2M-8.6M and far better than 2013 (8.1M) or 2012 (7.2M).
- Issues downside Q2 guidance, seeing EPS of $0.40-$0.45 vs. analyst consensus estimate $0.49; raises bottom end of FY 2014 EPS outlook to $1.50-$1.80 vs. prior guidance of $1.40-$1.80 and $1.67 consensus.
- Sees "steady improvements" taking hold in the potash industry, and maintains its FY 2014 global potash shipments outlook of 55M-57M metric tons vs. 53.5m tons shipped in 2013.
- Reports weaker Q1 results from its nitrogen and phosphate units due to lower prices; phosphate production also was disrupted by bad weather.
Apr. 15, 2014, 8:36 AM
- Potash (POT) +2.3% premarket on speculation that BHP Billiton (BHP) may make another run at acquiring the fertilizer company after failing in a prior buyout attempt in 2010, according to the Globe & Mail.
- The report says industry speculation is "intense" because "the numbers work, the personalities are closer to working, [and] even the politics are not insurmountable because the landscape has shifted," but it adds that "there is no sign that any potential deal is underway."
Apr. 7, 2014, 11:28 AM
- Wall Street reaction to the change of the guard at Potash (POT -1.6%), where longtime President and CEO Bill Doyle will step down in July after a 27-year career with the company, seems one of surprise and a bit of puzzlement.
- In the view of TD Securities analyst Greg Barnes, the fact that replacement Jochen Tilk comes from outside the fertilizer industry is a surprise, though he believes is widely respected by his peers and had a strong commitment to sustainability in the mining industry as the head man at Inmet Mining.
- According to Raymond James, Doyle's decision to step down isn't unexpected but is "a little taken aback" at the choice of Tilk "on the heels of one of the potash industry's most volatile periods."
- RBC is taking a wait-and-see approach as it learn more about how the new CEO will help shape the company's strategy to grow its earnings and navigate a challenging time in the potash market (Briefing.com).
Mar. 5, 2014, 3:59 PM
- Potash Corp. (POT +3.9%) and other fertilizer makers rally as FT reports the two largest shareholders in Uralkali have endorsed the logic of restarting a partnership with the Belarus potash export cartel, opening the door to a deal that would end the potash war that has roiled the industry.
- No formal negotiations have occurred between the two companies about restarting their partnership, but the subject is said to have been mentioned informally.
- AGU +1.5%, MOS +1.8%, IPI +4.3%.
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