K+S Quarterly Profit Beats Estimates on Rising Fertilizer Demand

K+S AG (SDF), Europe’s biggest potash producer, reported first-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates after demand for fertilizer rose at the end of the quarter, helping offset a decline in demand for de-icing salt.

Earnings before interest and tax excluding one-time items, which the company calls Ebit I, declined 24 percent to 281.1 million euros ($364.8 million) in the quarter, Kassel, Germany- based K+S said today in a statement. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted 265.4 million euros.

Chief Executive Officer Norbert Steiner today reiterated a forecast for operating profit to decline “moderately” and sales to remain stable for the full year. Farmers ordered more potash fertilizer at the end of March after the European planting season started late because of dry and cold weather at the beginning of the year, the company said today.

“Despite challenging framework conditions at the start of the year, our potash fertilizer business achieved a very good result,” Norbert Steiner. “We were thus able to significantly mitigate the sharp decline for de-icing salts which was entirely due to weather conditions.”

Quarterly sales dropped 12 percent to 1.44 billion euros, compared with a 1.43 billion-euro estimate. Adjusted net income fell 29 percent to 193.4 million euros.

K+S, which became the world’s largest salt producer after buying Morton Salt from Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) in 2009, is holding its annual shareholders meeting in Kassel today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sheenagh Matthews in Frankfurt at smatthews6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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