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Mosaic Profit Trails Estimates as Potash Prices Fall

Mosaic Co., North America’s second-largest fertilizer producer, reported fiscal first-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates as potash prices declined.

Earnings per share in the three months through August were 67 cents, trailing the 71-cent average estimate of 18 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Net income rose to $297.7 million from $100.6 million, or 23 cents, a year earlier, Plymouth, Minnesota-based Mosaic said today in a statement. Sales increased 50 percent to $2.19 billion.

Potash for immediate delivery in Iowa, the top U.S. corn- growing state, has fallen 9.5 percent this year as fertilizer makers cut prices to spur sales. Farmers deferred purchases of the crop nutrient in 2008 and 2009 in response to record high prices and the global economic slowdown.

“Producers were forced to give back price increases in July in order to spur summer refill demand when the market was less robust,” Edlain Rodriguez, a New York-based analyst at Gleacher & Co., wrote in a Sept. 24 note to clients. He rates the shares a “buy.”

Mosaic, 64 percent owned by closely held Cargill Inc., fell $1.14, or 1.9 percent, to $57.65 at 4:32 p.m. after the close of New York Stock Exchange trading. The shares declined 1.6 percent this year through today’s close.

(Mosaic scheduled a conference call for tomorrow at 10 a.m. New York time at +1-888-680-0893. The passcode is 18586123.)

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