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Nutrien cuts profit forecast on weak ammonia prices

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(File photo by Dave Bedard)

Reuters — Canadian fertilizer maker Nutrien on Monday cut its annual adjusted profit forecast as weaker-than-normal industrial demand held back prices for ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate.

The company cut the top end of its 2020 adjusted earnings per share forecast to $1.90 from $2.10 earlier, while retaining the lower end at $1.50.

Even as industrial utilization picked up in Asia, weak demand in the Western Hemisphere hurt ammonia prices, Nutrien said.

The company said demand for urea was strong in India and expects Chinese urea exports to pick up pace in the second half, though they are lower year-on-year.

Revenue of $8.18 billion for the second quarter missed analysts’ estimate of $8.35 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Potash sales volumes in North America rose from an increase in U.S. planted acreage and more normal weather this spring, but prices still suffered as the benchmark was dragged by weak demand abroad.

Net potash sales outside of North America declined about 40 per cent due to lower Chinese import demand and some short-term cautious spot purchasing in certain international markets, the company said.

The Saskatoon-based company’s net income fell to $765 million, or $1.34 per share, in the three months ended June 30, from $858 million, or $1.47 per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, it earned $1.45 per share, beating expectations of $1.33, helped by lower costs.

— Reporting for Reuters by Arunima Kumar in Bangalore.

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