CF Industries Holdings Inc. (CF), the largest U.S. maker of nitrogen fertilizer, reported first-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates as corn prices rose.
Net income climbed to $406.5 million, or $6.47 a share, from $368.4 million, or $5.54, a year earlier, the Deerfield, Illinois-based company said today in a statement. Profit excluding one-time items was $6.03 a share, topping the $6 average of 14 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales declined to $1.34 billion from $1.53 billion, less than the $1.44 billion average estimate.
Corn futures in Chicago were on average 11 percent higher in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, generating more cash for farmers to buy fertilizer, after the worst U.S. drought in 70 years ravaged crops last year. That may support prices for crop nutrients, which have been falling in the past year, said Jason Miner, a Princeton, New Jersey-based analyst at Bloomberg Industries.
“We may be seeing evidence of less pricing pressure than people expected,” Miner said before the results were released.
The company’s adjusted per-share earnings have beaten average analysts’ estimates in eight of the past nine quarters.
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