Mosaic Says Fertilizer Prices to Remain ‘Challenging’

Mosaic Co. (MOS), the largest U.S. producer of potash and phosphate fertilizer, said prices will “remain challenging” into 2014 after a later-than-normal North American application season and caution among dealers.

The estimated average price for its potash will be $285 to $310 a metric ton in the current quarter, down from $342 in the third quarter, the Plymouth Minnesota-based company said today in a statement. Phosphates prices are seen falling to $370 to $400 a metric ton, from $436.

Buyers of potash, a form of potassium that’s used to increase crop yields, have deferred purchases since the end of July after Russia’s OAO Uralkali, the world’s largest producer, quit a sales accord with its Belarusian rival and announced plans to boost output and take a larger market share.

“We anticipate strong demand in North America for the remainder of calendar 2013, while international demand, especially in India and China, remains less predictable,” Mosaic Chief Executive Officer Jim Prokopanko said in the statement. “We expect pricing to remain challenging into 2014, followed by a cyclical reversion, as demand growth absorbs the additional supply of phosphate and potash.”

Mosaic also reported third-quarter profit and sales today that missed analysts’ estimates. Net income dropped to 29 cents a share from 98 cents a year earlier. Excluding writedowns and other one-time items, profit was 51 cents a share, less than the 56-cent average of 14 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue dropped 28 percent to $1.91 billion, compared with the $1.98 billion average estimate.

Mosaic dropped 0.9 percent to $46.30 at 9:53 a.m. in New York.

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