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K+S Beats Quarterly Profit Estimates on De-Icing Salt Demand

May 14 (Bloomberg) -- K+S AG, Europe’s largest potash maker, reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates after extended wintry weather in Europe boosted demand for de-icing salt.

Earnings before interest and taxes and excluding some hedging transactions, called Ebit I, rose 12 percent to 277.9 million euros ($361.5 billion) in the quarter, the Kassel, Germany-based company said today in a statement. Analysts had estimated 274.9 million euros in a Bloomberg survey.

Chief Executive Officer Norbert Steiner reiterated today that earnings and sales will probably rise “slightly” this year as increased demand for salt more than compensates for lower potash prices. K+S and rivals such as Russia’s OAO Eurochem plan to increase capacity for the crop nutrient as prices are expected to stabilize.

“In the Salt business unit, continued wintry weather in Europe at the start of the year resulted in above-average demand for de-icing salt, which was significantly above the low level of the same period a year ago,” Steiner said in the statement.

Sales gained 19 percent to 1.28 billion euros, beating a 1.23 billion-euro estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Net income fell 11 percent to 187.5 million euros.

K+S shares gained 2.2 percent to 35.75 euros in Frankfurt trading as of 9:09 a.m. local time, the biggest intraday jump since April 10.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net

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